I resisted upgrading my day planner for a long time. All around me, people were twiddling on their iPhones and smart phones and BlackBerries. But I kept using an old-fashioned paper and pen planner.
Eventually I capitulated (publishing a book will do that to you—too many new contacts and events to keep track of]. So I bought an everything-but-the-phone mobile device:
I got it just before going on a trip and I was glad to leave my heavy, bulky old planner behind. My new one was smaller, lighter, and better in so many ways.
It does everything my old planner did and 1000 times more. It’s a camera, a bible, a dictation transcriber, an alarm clock, and a stack of three-ring binders [go OneNote], a video recorder, a photo album, a library, an internet browser, a music and video player, a calculator, and a video conferencing center [aka Skype]. All this in a slim silver case equal to 20 index cards.
Yet I couldn’t bear to throw my old day planner away. I had carried it with me for 12 years, using it every day, and I loved it well. It felt comfortable; it looked attractive, I knew the system and had customized it for my quirks.
A few weeks after I got home from my trip, I discovered a new use for it:
I kid you not. My new mobile device was so small and light, I sometimes misplaced it. I sometimes dropped it going from one room to another. My old planner was the perfect holder for it.
And since I was already carrying the planner around with me, I started keeping notes in it again. Before long I was running dual systems, trying to have the best of both worlds.
Suddenly I appreciated the Jews and the disciples of John in Mark 2 who wanted to hold on to their old ways.
In the new kingdom, Jesus was going to do something new and different. Old routines and rituals would not be able to hold it. They had already been stretched to the limit. There was no more give. It would be like putting new wine in old wineskins. Sooner or later, it would burst, ruining both the content and the container.
It’s not so much that the old covenant system was faulty. It made sense for that era, just like my old day planner worked fine in the era of cars and tidy to-do lists. But now I’m a flying traveler with a baggage weight limit and multiple writing projects.
Still I find myself holding on to my old wineskins. I don’t want to have to choose between the old and the new. I don’t want either/or. I want both/and.
We want the old flesh and the new spirit at the same time. We want a comfortable, cultural faith, and a transformed life.
But the new life Jesus brings is not a spring cleaning, or a cosmetic change. It is not just rearranging the furniture. It is not buying something new and slipping it into something old.
The Ancient of Days wants to go beyond old sin-bounded forms.
Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
If we’re going to have this living water, we need a new heart.
Thank God He gives us both.