Old Skins, New Wine

No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse.  Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”                                                                                                                                                                              Matthew 9:16-17

Jesus used parables to teach principles to his disciples. He used common, everyday materials in the world as examples- like sowing seeds; the lilies of the field; the birds of the air; sheep; houses built upon sand and those built upon rock; and wine and wineskins. He was a practical and effective teacher.

He used a parable about new wine and old wineskins to teach about our receptiveness and our ability to take in change. He said that if you pour new wine into old wineskins, since those skins have already been stretched to the limit, the old skins may burst as the “new wine” ferments and expands.

I was having a discussion today with some dear friends who are about my age. We have a lot of experience in the service we do, but we agreed that there comes a time when the next generation must be handed the torch. We can change to accommodate new ideas, and we do, but there comes a time for new wineskins.

This does not mean that we just give up and retire. We still have a lot to offer. Our challenge is to recognize when and how to hand over that torch of leadership, yet also to stay as fresh and relevant as we can.

Prayer: Lord, help keep us fresh and receptive as we pass the torch of leadership, Amen

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