Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, Australia)

Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 37 - October/November 2010 > Good Ol' Days (by Annette Stafford)

Good Ol' Days

by Annette Stafford

Good Ol' Days - God is still the same, even if we change

I am a relatively new Adventist.  My husband and I were baptized in 2006 .

The way we lead our lives has certainly changed since we took that great leap of faith and we both feel much more fulfilled and contented since doing so.  Some of our friends and family are not so comfortable with our new life but all agree that they can see we are better people and more happy for it.

That's just a tiny little snippet, an overview to explain to you who I am and where I have come from so that I can put you in the loop of past and present.

Many years ago a very dear friend of mine, who had a regular segment on Radio 2GB as guest psychiatrist, gave me a very special bottle of grange hermitage wine to thank me for doing some writing for him.  He went to great lengths to tell me that this very special bottle of wine must remain on its side and that he had kept the wine himself for over 20 years.  He hoped that I might save it to celebrate a special occasion.

My husband and I were moderate drinkers and I was in no hurry to open the wine so I kept the bottle for many years.  In those days we were building our business up and we moved house many times.  I took considerable care of this special bottle of wine during these moves. I would put the bottle away where there was no threat of it being broken or mistakenly opened as 'just another bottle of red wine' and I always lay it on its side, as instructed to do.

My dear friend who gave me this wine fell ill and he died several months after being diagnosed with a terminal illness.  I was devastated and now the wine took on even more significance.  I wanted it opened only for a truly special occasion and I knew that upon opening it I would toast my dear friend in remembrance.  There were opportunities when I could have popped the cork however I wanted to wait till something grander came my way.

Well the occasion finally came.  I had my mother who I missed dearly staying from overseas and we were spending New Years Eve with our next door neighbours' who were our very close friends.  The venue for the occasion was an apartment which looked out over the harbour where we could view the fireworks at close range and share in the festivities of the night unfolding.

The wine was carefully brought out and I gently began pulling the cork in great anticipation.  The day had finally arrived and I wanted nothing lost in the magic of the moment.   This was a celebration worthy in every way for us to share in this momentous occasion. I was in the company of those who held a special place in my heart and the venue could not have been better.  I had waited so long for this moment to come.

As I pulled the cork I noticed that it was rather crumbly.  I was very careful not to drop any of the pieces of cork into the wine but as I tilted the bottle to fill the first glass it looked very unappetizing.  Everyone was sitting in great anticipation because they all understood the significance of the final bottle opening.

The liquid that came out of the bottle was rather like vinegar with horrible thick mucus-like clumps. 

I realized in horror the wine had gone off.

I had savoured this special bottle for all these years and my friend had tended it for over 20 before me and the result of all that tendering and leaving it unopened was a wine that had fermented and soured.  Over the years there were many occasions when I could have opened it but I had chosen to wait.

I use this example for good reason.

There must be those who mourn the loss of the precious glory days of the church of yesterday.  In those days the Word of God and the House of God were held in high regard by ALL. Even society's so called 'lost souls' at that time would have respected the things of God. Pulpits and pews must have been overflowing with the Spirit of God for all to share.  There is no doubt the fear of God would have been deeply rooted on the community at large in those times.  

Ah the 'Good Ol' Days'.

Today the modern church must compare unfavourably to those who remember with much fondness the church of yesteryear. Hearts must ache for a return to those days where the mainstay of the church held the community together and people of faith were everywhere and society reflected this.

Words like home invasion simply didn't exist.  And young people were respectful of their elders.  Those past days were gift wrapped in every way upon reflection.

The danger though is that by concentrating on the past we may miss what God is doing at the present time.  We need to glean what was positive about the old ways and utilize all those good things into modern times for the glory of God. 

This doesn't mean discarding old hymnals in favour of pop influenced praise songs, or replacing preaching with dramatized worship and it certainly doesn't mean lowering our standards to in any way accommodate how the world around us has changed.

It does mean however that we need to look at how and where God is working today and be thankful for the opportunities He is giving us to share with others right here and right now.

The danger is not just relegated to those relecting on the past.  There are those who get so caught up in all the modern trends and methods that they fail to heed the lessons learned from the past.  We must remember that although we may change, God does not change!

What He did in earlier times, He is still doing today!  The way God saved souls then is still how He saves them today!  Society has changed, the church has changed, the world has changed, but God does not change. 

We are told in Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same now that he ever has been and ever will be. ... Malachi 3:6 For I am the Lord I do not change James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change .

No matter where we are at in our lives we each have opportunities to share in the word and the blessings of our Lord.  Our attitude towards others and the way we choose to live our lives can have a ripple effect on all those who come into contact with us.  Every single one of us can make a difference to our world - be it a warm smile, a sincere thank you to those who help us, looking out for and helping others where we can or just a pleasant disposition so that we reflect a happy glad and thankful heart. 

If we hold onto God's glory and don't share it with others it will be like the bottle of wine I told you about -  unopened and left far too long allowing the contents to ferment and sour.

Everybody misses out.

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