Jesus said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the Kingdom of God is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” Matthew 13:52
It was 1983 and the crowds of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo were packed into the Astrodome in anticipation of seeing the headliner Eddie Rabbitt and his new hit, “I Love a Rainy Night.” Finally, it was time for the show to start and the opener comes strolling out on the stage. There was no buildup or fireworks. He simply said hello to the crowd and started playing his opening number, a little known song called “Amarillo by Morning.” Yes, the opener was none other than George Strait. Rabbitt would later come on and whip the crowd into a frenzy with his charismatic style, but many in the crowd left recognizing that they hadn’t just seen one superstar that evening, but two.
Jesus makes this same point in a different way speaking of a householder, a keeper of the treasures of God’s Kingdom, who pulls out of his storeroom some new and old treasures. The new treasures represent the extraordinary, brand new pictures of God emerging all around us. The old treasures represent the wisdom of the ages, especially the ancient stories and hope of the Israelites. The point Jesus is making is that we need both. The church needs both, rooting the new deep within the old and allowing the old to come to fresh and exciting expression in the new.
Many churches struggle with this challenging teaching. We choose either to cling to old treasures resisting new expressions of faith, or discard the wisdom of years gone by for the sake of what is new and trendy. Jesus challenges us to celebrate and embrace both the old and the new. Are we able to recognize the rightful place of the old and new in our treasured expressions of faith? May our church family always be rooted in the wisdom of our past and eager to receive new visions of the future God desires for us.