"I was thinking..."
I was thinking...Pastor Steve
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council.
He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God.
For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him. "
John 3: 1, 2 (NIV)
You may remember this story from the Gospel of John. Nicodemus, a man who was part of the
Pharisees, came at night to talk to Jesus. There could be several reasons for this night-time rendezvous. Perhaps Nicodemus didn't want anyone, especially other Pharisees, to know that he was seeking out Jesus. That happens today, too. People may want to know more about Jesus, but they don't want to go to church or a Bible study to find out. Many times, it's because they feel like they don't know enough and are afraid they will look dumb to the other people in the group.
I was thinking about how difficult it is to feel included, especially in a new environment. I think most of us want to "hang back" until we get the lay of the land. People often want to be asked to attend this or that, like a class or study. I've mentioned to many people over the years that the best way to get to know other people is to go to different activities. Whether that's our Birthday luncheon, a study, or a work event, that's when you get to go beyond the "howdy" and "have a great week" that happens before and after the worship service.
We've had some new people attend over the last few years. Do we know any more about them than when they first visited? Not only do we need to grow with each other, but it will help bolster our walk with Jesus. There are people within this congregation who have been through life's mountain tops and valleys. With the wisdom each of us has attained, we could write a life-cycle encyclopedia!
Wow, I got off track...back to Nicodemus. Sometimes we need some one-on-one time with Jesus, to take the time to get to know Him, ask questions, really listen to His response. Since we do this through His written Word and the Holy Spirit now, do we take the time to sit with the Word and be in His Presence? There's a mountain of Scriptures for us to learn from; we either have to learn on our own or by listening to, and engaging with, other people who are teachers, either in person or book form. I have found that from searching out learned people, my knowledge of Jesus has increased. Have I reached the pinnacle of wisdom or am I a spiritual giant yet? Not even close, but I'm a lot closer than I was back in the 90s. And, I can feel fairly good about that.
Do you think old Nick left that house where he met Jesus and went back home thinking he understood it all? That his eyes and mind were now one with God? Not likely. It takes time, even the disciples didn't understand everything Jesus taught them until after Jesus was Resurrected. We must take time to be in His presence, but we will never fully know Him until we are called home.
Until that time, find some other Believers to join together with, to keep company, and share your faith. Take some time to enjoy the fellowship of those who are Believers, hang around a bit after the service, meet at Wendy's for lunch. We may as well get to know more about each other now, 'cause we'll be seeing a lot of each other in the next life. For some, you will be discipling them; with others, they will be discipling you! You gotta have friends, as the song says. Until we are called home, be safe and God bless.