New Wineskins

Matthew 9:17 NIV
“Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

In today’s world everything seems so expensive. The cost of energy, food and even clothing often makes us think twice about whether we really can afford it. There are many thousands of people in the UK, who struggle to purchase basic foods for their families. The problem is that we often cut corners because of lack of funds, sometimes leading to bigger problems. Fortunately there are now FoodBanks, charity shops and generous churches which can make the essentials available for the poor, as in many other countries.

I recently experienced a problem which resulted from my cutting corners in the past. I had to replace a tyre on my car a couple of years back, and was persuaded by the garage to use a pre-used one in order to save money. All was well until last week, when the tyre suddenly split in five places and I was forced off the road in order to return home and change it. When the tyre fitter looked at the split one he discovered that it was actually over twenty-five years old, and could have caused a serious accident if it had burst on a major road at speed. My attempt at economy was a bad compromise, on reflection.

I was reminded of Jesus’ words about the need of having new wineskins. In Matthew 9, Jesus tells His disciples that old wineskins won’t hold the new wine of the Kingdom of God. The old ways were going to have to give way to His new ones, so that the precious truth of the coming of the Kingdom of the rule of Jesus would not be lost, but would be preserved, and would refresh and enliven people who tasted it.

Maybe we have tried to compromise in our Christian lives, so we’re seeking to preserve the old and familiar, when God is telling us to replace it with His newness. Maybe those old ways served us well in the past, but they are not fit for today’s purpose, like my old tyre. What are you holding on to today? Perhaps it’s a familiar way of doing church, some old songs that aren’t so intelligible to the current generation of worshippers, or the old ways of doing things that we’ve grown to love, and which worked so well for us in the past.

Why not ask God to help you look closely at the things that have become very comfortable, and which you really haven’t seen the need to change. Perhaps you might be worrying about the cost involved, emotionally, financially, spiritually, socially, or the challenge of doing things differently. God has got some new wine for us to taste – and it will be better than before. Don’t run the risk of losing it by being unwilling to pay the right price.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for all the blessings of the past, and for always providing for our needs. Help us not to hold on to those blessings instead of embracing the new, which You are offering, for free! We choose to give up our old wineskins, and ask You to take care of those that are precious to us now. Amen.

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