by Kevin Pauley
Jesus replied, "I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." - John 3:3 HCSB
Mbuzi was a very beautiful goat who was as vain as she was beautiful. Out of vanity, she decided to ask the wily Kachi, a chimpanzee who lived in a huge Baobab tree, how to become a lion. After much thought and great scratching of fleas, Kachi gave her the “Five Rules of Transmogrification”: (1) do what lions do; (2) say what lions say; (3) eat what lions eat; (4) wear what lions wear; and finally (5) go where lions go.
Mbuzi was very excited and began her practice immediately. She tried to make her little stubby goat tail swish and slink like a lion’s tail. She taught herself to roar (though it actually sounded like a goat with laryngitis). After steeling herself against the flies, she finally was able to stomach an old bone from a cadaver a pride of lions had left behind. She got Kachi to get a piece of bark and a burnt stick from a hunter’s fire. He wrote “Lion” on the bark and stuck it on her stubby little horns so that all would know who she was but everyone just kept laughing. So she decided that it was time for some new friends.
She headed toward a small hill, covered in great boulders and small caves that the lions used as a meeting place. Mbuzi walked most of the day. When she arrived, she was experiencing decidedly un-lionlike feelings of nervousness. “Posh!” she thought to herself. “It is only because I’m about to meet my new family.” She came to the main cave and peered into its blackness. “Hello? It’s Mbuzi!” she called out with a quavering voice. “I’m a fellow lion and I’m here to meet you!”
Behind her a large shadow suddenly raised from behind a boulder. It had a long sinuous tail and rippling muscles. It kept razor sharp claws carefully retracted as it padded silently toward Mbuzi who was so intent on the cave entrance that she did not hear a thing. Wham! In one great leap, a flurry of motion and a few frantic bleats Mbuzi was indeed transmogrified. Not into a lion but into a lion’s dinner.
We often make Mbuzi’s mistake. We try to please God by following the rules of transmogrification. We go to church, we shout “AMEN! HALLELUJAH!” We follow dietary laws or feast and holy days. We wear our little crosses and WWJD bracelets so that everyone will know that we are one of the Ransomed. All the while we are unaware that our enemy “is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.”
There was only one way that Mbuzi could have been a lion just as there is only one way to become a child of God. In the words of the Master, “You must be born again.”
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Kevin Pauley is a pastor and writer. He lives in Illinois with his wife, Lynn, their five children and two dogs. His internet address is Berea.
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