Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Part 25: Old and New Cloth (Luke 5:36)

And He was also telling them a parable: "No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. (Luke 5:36 NASB)

We skipped this verse when we started the wine series, so I'm going back to catch it's lesson, too. 

The new holds great attraction for us, doesn't it? Madison Avenue has done a wonderful job of training us to desire "new".  As I was reading this verse today, I realized that we have, to a frightening degree, lost the value of the old in our culture. 

I have a pair of wing-back chairs that were my mother's. She was so proud of those chairs when she bought them, but when she moved to my house they went into a storage building and deteriorated badly. I recently pulled them out, bought new fabric, and hired someone to recover them. I realize that I could shop around and buy new chairs for what I am going to spend, but (at least for me) the old has intrinsic value. 

Jesus taught the value of the old, as well. In this parable that precedes the parable about the old and new wine, Jesus clarified before he ever started with the wine story that, to him, OLD has value. He described an old, but perfectly serviceable garment that had a tear in it requiring a patch. The patch could be made with new (unshrunk) fabric or with old fabric. We might want to use new fabric, but in the first washing, the new fabric would shrink and both the new fabric and the old garment would be ruined. It would be a waste of time and resources. 

The way to repair a hole in an old garment is to use old fabric (already shrunken). The old fabric can go through the wash and remain intact. No tears. It restores the serviceability of the garment. 

Remember that this preceded the wine teaching. Jesus clarified before He ever began that there is value in the old, including the old wine. New wine mixed with old would ruin the old wine, but new wine, given time to mature, can be added and bring enhancement to the old. 

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill." (Matthew 5:17 NASB). He wasn't starting something new. He was expanding and completing the old. 

We, and our loved ones, have spent much of our lives in a consumer society that values the new. It influences our spending habits and the way we think about value in general. It is one of the reasons that we look for "new" rather than embrace the faith of our family. 

Pray today that our loved ones (as well as we ourselves) will recognize the value and the beauty of  this "old" faith and embrace it without reservation. Pray that our fascination with "new" will end and be replaced with a desire for truth and righteousness.