I used to drive past a billboard in southern Indiana that said “REGENERATE”. The letters were BIG and GREEN, there was small print, hard to read while driving. The billboard pointed motorists toward a local “re-use it” store.
The concept is that you bring your rusted lawn mower, which hasn’t run in years, and your old bedside alarm clock, replaced 3 years ago by your iPhone. The lawn mower is cleaned and its’ blades sharpened. A new power cord is connected to the alarm clock, it works perfectly.
A 15 year old pays 20$ for the mower and alarm clock. He put the clock on his bedside stand and sets it for 6AM so he can awaken with the sunrise. He starts a small business mowing lawns for the neighbors and takes care of Grandma’s lawn for free.
I’m like that alarm clock and mower. You are too. We are rusted, broken, powerless, useless. We are lost in the attic or the back of the garage, waiting for someone to want us, to love us.
The apostle Paul wrote, in a letter to his young friend Titus: “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another” (Titus 1:3, ESV).
Paul didn’t stop with that dismal scene – he continued: “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 1:4-7, ESV)
Through the grace of Jesus and the renewal of the Holy Spirit we are given a second chance, made new. We are restored and loved.