Sunday, July 19, 2015

Old Wine

“No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.” – Luke 5:39

         We live in what is considered perhaps (after the Napa Valley) California’s wine country. I say this not to raise any claim to being an authority. I’m not. As one who doesn’t even care for grape juice, I could never be considered a connoisseur. I do, however, love seeing the nearby acres of vineyards with their beautiful vines bent over with abundance of ripe fruit. One thing I do know, as I’m sure you do as well, is that old wines are prized more than new ones. The most expensive bottle of American wine ever sold was a bottle of 1941 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, which sold for $24,675, or $4,113 a glass. There must be something about the taste. At least, that’s what Jesus said. After you’ve had the old wine, the new just won’t satisfy you.

         I agree; not about wine in a glass, but the Spiritual wine in my soul. Not one to be stagnated by nostalgia, I have, nevertheless, lived long enough to taste some “new wine” that I have found bland and flat in comparison. Could I share with you a few of what I have found to be vintage years in my Christian life, for one reason or another?

         I may have been born in 1943, but 1952 was the most important year of my life. That was the year I was born again by the Spirit of God. I may only have been nine years old, but He had already laid the conviction of sin so heavily on my heart that ever after, when I sang the little chorus, “Rolled away, rolled away, rolled away; every burden of my heart rolled away,” it was truly my testimony. From that day to this, I have known the God who knew me before the foundation of the world, and I have known that I belong to Him.

         In what I’m guessing was probably about 1955, I decided that I wanted to serve Jesus, my Lord and Savior, exclusively, By that I mean, I knew that I could serve Him in any venue or situation in which He placed me, but I longed, if it was His will, to labor in His vineyard with a man of God, if possible. As we used to sing, “To be used of God, to sing, to speak, to pray/To be used of God to show someone the way/I long so much to feel the touch of His consuming fire/To be used of God is my desire.”

         In 1961, I married the man God had chosen for me with which to serve Him. This too I have never doubted. He has been far more than a loving husband to me. He has been my pastor, teacher, and friend; and who like Jonathan for David, “…strengthened [my] hand in God” (1 Sam. 23:16). I cherish him.
         The next year, I became a mother, as well as in 1967, 1973 and 1974. I know of at least two Christian women who chose to serve God with their husbands, without the distraction children. Only the direct intervention of God would have kept me from savoring the sweetness of motherhood, with all its joys and tears.

         Finally, there is another year long before my time that was a vintage year of its kind, unequalled by any other, to my way of thinking. That year is 1611, the year when, as Alister McGrath describes it, the Book that “changed a nation, a language, and a culture,” was produced. He further acknowledged about the King James Bible that “Perhaps the greatest tribute to its success lies in the simple fact that, for nearly two centuries, most of its readers were unaware that they were actually reading a translation.” (In the Beginning, p. 301). A singular distinction from any since then. Frankly, I’m still “unaware.” The Bible I have been reading for sixty-three years is as sweet to my taste as it was when I was a child. If anything thing, it’s sweeter; for as good wine, it has aged as I have, and now I have no desire for anything else.

         Thank you for letting me share these thoughts on some “old wine” in my life. Could I humbly say, on this wine I am a connoisseur? It has stirred my heart to look back and reminded me again that with most things in the Christian life, “The old is better.”

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