How to Think About 2014
The beginning of a new year is a great time to think about where we’ve been and where we’re going. Even if no significant changes are happening in our lives, the new year still presents us with an opportunity to press a mental “reset” button.
Jesus implicitly exhorted his disciples not to forsake what God had spoken in the past as they embraced the new things Jesus was inaugurating in the present. Matthew records, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” (Matthew 13:52) The wise man or woman will continue to build upon the old while embracing and adapting to what is new.
But for many of us today, it is this first part that can be so difficult. Newer is better, right? Sticking with the same thing is… well… boring. So we change jobs. We change homes. We change our look. (Thanks for the incentive, Facebook!) We change relationships. We change churches. But in 2014, there might be some good reasons to keep doing a lot of the things you did in 2013. We’ll look at some of these reasons over the next few days.
Newer ideas are not necessarily better ideas.
Over a hundred years ago, stomach ulcers seemed to be on the rise. At the same time, many bright people were thinking about how our mental and psychological health affects our bodily health, and it was postulated that stomach ulcers were primarily the result of stress and anxiety. The idea made perfect sense! But it was wrong.
In the 1980s, Barry Marshall and Robin Warren discovered that stomach ulcers are caused by a particular bacterium that can survive in the acidic environment of the stomach. And in 2005, they were awarded the Nobel Prize. The new idea of the early 1900s didn’t pan out.
We are confronted with new ideas all the time — new ways to be successful, new ways to approach relationships, new ways to parent our children, new ways to get the most out of life. And, for so many of us, newer just feels better. This bias towards what is new can subtly lead us to devalue the old wisdom offered in the Bible. In 2014, before you try the latest approach to a new you, take some time to examine the words that have changed lives for nearly twenty centuries. The Gospel of Luke is a great place to start.