Happy New Year: Get Ready To Expand
"And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.” Mark 2:22 (NIV)
After the Christmas break during my grade school years, I will never forget the difficulty of adjusting to writing the new year on class assignments. Because I had grown accustomed to writing the previous year, when the new year arrived it was a struggle for me to break the habit. For example, I have just gotten used to it being 2016 and reinforcing it by repeating it verbally and in writing. How do I simply move to 2017?
Do we struggle to continue the patterns of the past although time is thrusting us forward? In the analogy of the wineskins, Jesus provides for his audience an illustration using the wine fermentation process. I believe this will help us as people of God in our understanding of how to negotiate change in circumstances, relationships, or ministry.
During the fermenting process new wine swells and therefore cannot be placed in a wineskin that has reached its capacity of flexibility. When Jesus made these statements, he may have been referring to the inability of the Pharisees to understand Jesus’ new teachings about a God of love, grace, and inclusivity in comparison to their limited perception of God as Judge and lawgiver.
As followers of Christ, we are new wineskins that desire the new wine of the Holy Spirit that continue to expand us spiritually. Each new year will bring about its joys as well as concerns, however as people of faith we are flexible and expect God to use us in new and different ways.
Therefore, we welcome change as it moves us closer to God’s purpose and destiny for us in 2017.