Was Jesus born at a gas station?
With a successful venture playing a prominent role in Jerusalem, Jesus was naturally trained in economics and business as much as he was philosophy and religion. As Christians we have to recognize that our savior was an entrepreneur before he was a teacher. Doing so is empowering and delivers a new perspective on scripture that enables us to understand God’s heart for the marketplace. This series seeks to establish a Biblical foundation for understanding Jesus the Entrepreneur.
You know the story. You sang it in Sunday School, acted it in the Christmas play, and enjoyed it at the live nativity scene. Picture humble baby Jesus asleep in a manger, surrounded by gentle and cute animals that you would love to just run up and hug. It sounds so serene, so humble, and so poetic.
Now picture a baby being born at the local Quik Trip. Semi-trucks are pulling in and out, neon lights fill the night sky, and thousands of pre-packaged items pack the shelves of an air conditioned service station. It’s hard to sleep; people are running in and out and the sound of the nearby interstate drowns out any chance at a peaceful night.
It isn’t nearly as poetic, but the manger we always picture to be so serene is actually a lot more similar to a modern day service station that we realize. Yes, I’m saying that Jesus was basically born at a Quik Trip. I’m not trying to cheapen the manger story by any means, but rather I’d like to offer a different perspective to the birth of Christ that may dramatically alter your understanding of God’s heart for the marketplace.
Think about it. What does a manger have in common with a modern day service station?
- They both dispense fuel (gas for cars, feed and water for donkeys)
- They both are a focal point for transportation (cars, mules and donkeys)
- They both offer a place of rest (lots for truck drivers to sleep, stables for donkeys to sleep)
- They both are usually located on critical and busy trade routes
- They both have dirty bathrooms (okay, I threw that one in as a joke)
Why does this matter?
As the son of God, Jesus could have been born anywhere. He could have been born in a temple, in a nice motel, or at a friend’s house. Yet God sent Mary and Joseph to birth the His son in a manger. Not because it’s serene, makes for a good story, or even because it is a metaphor for humility. Sure the humble beginnings message still works because there was ironically no room in an inn for the savior of man, but I think God might have had a different message here. One that we often miss.
Jesus was born at the equivalent of a modern day service station, a focal point of all commerce. Was God showing his heart for the marketplace by sending His son to the very place where sinners, the object of His love, spend most of their time?