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Everything Old Is New Again

Is there anything of which one can say, "Look! This is something new"? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. Ecclesiastes 1:10

A young man approached me at a conference and asked if he could share some new ideas for youth ministry. He was very enthusiastic as he outlined his program, but the longer I listened, the more familiar his ideas became. I encouraged him to put his ideas into practice but then told him that we had done all of those things in Youth for Christ before he was born and that YFC workers were still doing them. He was a bit stunned to discover that there was indeed "nothing new under the sun" (v. 9).

Solomon wrote, of course, about the basic principles of life and not about methods. As the familiar couplet puts it: "Methods are many, principles are few / methods always change, principles never do." The ancient thinkers knew this truth. The Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius wrote, "They that come after us will see nothing new, and they who went before us saw nothing more than we have seen." The only people who really think they have seen something new are those whose experience is limited or whose vision can't penetrate beneath the surface of things. Because something is recent, they think it is new; they mistake novelty for originality.

Applying God's Truth:

  1. What are some of the principles you have held throughout your life that are identical to those of your parents and preceding generations?

  2. How would you distinguish between novelty and originality?

  3. If it's true that there is "nothing new under the sun," why do you think people today put so much emphasis on new and improved, new and better, and other promises of hitherto undiscovered products and services?

Devotions for Contentment and Wisdom ©2005 by Dr. Warren Wiersbe. Used by permission of David C Cook. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

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