One of the curious luxuries that our affluent society affords many people is the ability to indulge in both the old and the new at the same time. People go to auctions or garage sales and purchase old items at a price many times the original value. Often these items will end up in beautiful newer homes, side by side with the most modern furniture or the latest technology and labor-saving devices. The homeowners may show you through their home and, with enthusiasm, point out some of these items and tell you how they remember their grandparents using it or maybe some other long bygone connection.
We tend to want to buy and use the best of new improvements, but tucked away in many people’s hearts and minds is a real attraction to what once was. We forget how the original owners of these old items probably longed for something better when they were using them.
At the same time, we hardly realize how much we have learned to rely on modern technology to guide us through many of the intricate details of our lives. The pilot in his ship, the farmer planting corn, and the hiker lost in the wilderness put full confidence in the accuracy of small satellites fixed in orbit over the earth to safely guide them. The surgeon makes a small incision and, guided by a miniature camera, performs delicate operations successfully. Many people, when facing major moves or decisions, have learned to go to their computers to explore all the potential choices before making decisions. With all the array of knowledge and information available to us, we still often find ourselves bewildered with the pressing spiritual and moral choices that must be made in our lives.
Many years ago, when Jesus Christ walked on this earth, He told those listening to Him that it would not work to put new wine into old wineskins, because they wouldn’t be able to contain the wine without breaking. He also said that to try to mend an old garment with a new piece of cloth would only end up making the tear worse, as the new piece would shrink.
How many of us live with the conflict of the old and the new hidden down in our hearts? We see all the improvements and advantages that we have over the old ways, but deep down inside, we wonder if the moral and spiritual anchors will continue to hold. Will the simple Christian truths still be relevant in our world today, or will they go the way of yesteryear’s treasures? Grandparents watch their grandchildren grow up and wonder what their world will be like someday.
May we remember the timelessness of Jesus’ words from two thousand years ago. God knew ever since the fall of mankind that we wouldn’t be able to hold onto the true and good things of life without a fundamental change in our lives. All of man’s technology and improvements will never take the place of what Jesus did when He hung on the cross on a hill outside of Jerusalem.
The power to make good decisions and choices is still being offered us. There is a moral and spiritual compass that points out the way. It is important for us to realize that God offers to change us from the inside out. If we try to hold on to the old-time faith without allowing God to give us a new heart, we will surely fail. When hearts are surrendered to God, it makes our spirits soft, and we are like new wineskins, which are able to contain and hold spiritual truths and values that God wants to pour into our lives.
The Word of God and all it stands for is just as relevant today as ever. In a world of conflicts and terror, it offers comfort and assurance. In contrast to the rapidly changing values of today, it points out a clear pathway for our lives. Its promises and guidelines will serve our children and grandchildren for future times. May it be the anchor and compass of our lives.
From Messenger of Truth, 2011, No. 21