I recently went into a gas station that I frequently go to get gas and coffee. I noticed that when I walked inside the door all the signs had changed!
Some of the same people were working there but they were wearing different clothing. Some of the prices had changed and old familiar items were no longer for sale. There was a fresh new look, new signs, new food and even some new employees. I asked the familiar cashier behind the desk, “What is going on in here and how come they do not offer my 20 ounce, hot mocha, decaf coffee anymore?”
She said, “We are under new management!”
In a very short but memorable narrative in John 3:1-8, Jesus tells Nicodemus centuries ago, and us today, that if we really want to see and enter God’s kingdom we have to come under new management, or in Jesus’ words, “be born again.”
Traditionally, I think Nicodemus has gotten a bad rap from theologians and preachers. We preachers tend to emphasize that Nicodemus came under the cover of night, and that he was sneaking around in the dark trying to see Jesus while not wanting his buddies to know that he was really checking Jesus out.
But I have to hand it to Nicodemus; he irrefutably saw the mighty works that Jesus was performing and he knew something was up beside his old, manmade traditions and laws. He had the courage to seek Jesus out even if it was by night.
Jesus’ timeless words to Nicodemus speak to us right at this moment. Yes, we are born into waters of a natural birth by our earthly mothers, but we also have to be born anew from above in the water of the fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit of God.
Being born from above is not an option; maybe we will and maybe we won’t. Jesus said being born from above is a necessity if you and I intend to see and enter God’s kingdom. We are to come under the new management of the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives.
We may look the same on the outside, as does my favorite gas and coffee place, but on the inside, under the new management of God, we will have a fresh new look and a uniform of humility.
There will be new products on our heart shelves. Hate will be discontinued and love will take its place. On the wall signs of our minds will hang new posters that tell of inner peace and joy, not chaos and confusion. We will serve up psalms, praise and thanksgiving instead of cursing, backbiting and gossiping.
Except for the absence of my favorite beverage, for me the new management of the gas station is a long overdue and welcomed improvement. I know that if you are reading this article you have been born naturally, but have you been born again from above? Are you under the new management of the Holy Spirit?
Rev. Betty Griffin is pastor of Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3620 E. 38th St. She may be contacted at (317) 546-5683.