Matthew 9:14-17

Friday, January 4, 2019

Could've; Should've; Would've


No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 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. Matthew 9:16-17

If when reflecting back over the past, you often find yourself uttering words like; “could've,” “should've,” or “would've,” perhaps it is time to make a change. We can't keep looking back at the past, wishing we would have done something different, and expect anything to improve in our current situation. Doing so wastes valuable emotional energy, paralyzes us in mediocrity, and blinds us to precious opportunities ahead.

Jesus addressed the need for change when confronted with the issue of fasting. John's disciples fasted; Jesus' disciples didn't. When asked about it, Jesus took the opportunity to speak about what it means to change from a consciousness of living by public ritual to a consciousness of authentic spiritual life. To be clear, fasting was not the issue Jesus was addressing. Fasting is a beneficial and healthy, spiritual and physical discipline Jesus most certainly would encourage. In this context, the discipline of fasting was an issue of appropriate timing. But more importantly, as a ritualistic religious practice, it belonged to the old paradigm that Jesus was trying to break through. In effect, Jesus was saying: “You can't put new ideas into old mind-sets. You can't get new results with old behaviors.” He used the science of new patches on old garments, and new wine in old wineskins as examples.

The ending of an old year and the beginning of a new one is an appropriate time to deal with this issue. It is a time of reflection, a time to evaluate where we are spiritually, and to embrace new directions.