When it comes to really old stuff, there are two kinds of people, those who love antiques and those who don’t. Which are you?
Admittedly, this certainly isn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.
Feeding the hungry matters more.
Clean water for the billions who don’t have it matters more.
Putting an end to sex trafficking matters more.
Antiques are cool (guess you know which group I’m in), but they’re still just temporary things destined for eventual destruction.
Something struck me today while reading this passage: “No one pours new wine into old leather wineskins; otherwise, the wine would burst the wineskins and the wine would be lost and the wineskins destroyed. But new wine is for new wineskins” Mark 2:22 (CEB).
Apparently, God is more into the new.
It’s not that the old is evil, but just because it’s old doesn’t make it sacred.
The religious men Jesus first spoke these words to in Mark believed their spiritual practices and traditions were above all. Regular fasting (with an audience) and all of their Sabbath customs mattered more to them than truly loving God and loving people. In fact, Jesus scolded these supposedly holy men by telling them, “The Sabbath was created for humans; humans weren’t created for the Sabbath” Mark 2:27 (CEB).
God always puts people first. Rather than things or customs or traditions…being fresh and fully alive matters more to Him, and evidently the Father loves the new.
In Lamentations 3:22-23 it says, “God’s mercies are new every morning.”
Jesus said in John 13:34, “A new command I give to you: Love one another.”
The Apostle Paul called our life as believers “a new way of the Spirit” Romans 7:6 (CEB).
Perhaps the best news of all is that we can become new in Christ. Again, Paul wrote, “…if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (CEB).
Let’s be honest, some of us hold on to our old ways, our traditions, and the familiar with a death grip. We get terribly frustrated when something we hold dear is altered.
“Why didn’t the pastor read the Christmas story from the King James? It’s so much more poetic!”
“Live drama in church is way more effective than one-dimensional videos.”
“I prefer taking communion from a common cup rather than those cheesy plastic ones we use now.”
“That worship leader had the audacity to change my favorite Christmas hymn to be more contemporary. What’s wrong with the way we’ve always done it?”
Here’s my gentle push-back…
Maybe there’s nothing wrong with the old, but it’s good to be stretched by the new?
Maybe something fresh keeps us fresher?
Maybe we should zoom out and see the bigger picture? Is the new way more effective? Does the new approach connect better with our rapidly changing culture? Is there really anything wrong with new and different rather than the old and familiar?
Let me go on record: I have no beef with the old (I am, after all, much older than I used to be). I have my own favorite traditions, too. I understand.
But I’d rather grow old and stay flexible than grow old and become rigid. It seems that there’s something inherent in the new that keeps me humble and dependent on God. The new does stretch me, and if I’m not careful, my old wineskins might burst.
I ask God to keep my heart new. On a regular basis, I ask Him to help me embrace the new with a different and better attitude. I’ve determined to renew my mind daily so that His new wine has room to expand in my life.
The alternative is messy.
So let’s embrace the New Year, new challenges and new opportunities, and God’s “new wine” in the months to come. Rather than fight for our comfort zone, let’s accept this reality: New might be hard, but if it keeps us growing and becoming more like Jesus, it’s good.
I’m not rejecting the old. I still love antiques and my sometimes-antique ways. But I’ve come to learn that I follow a creative Creator who is constantly calling me to something fresh, something innovative, and something new.