Monday, September 27, 2010

Of old razors and other things that shouldn't be forgotten

So the other day I stumbled across a website that trumpeted the values of shaving like a man. Not with disposable, fancy pants razors like some people use. And not even with the cartridge refills. No, this author was a proponent of old school razors. And considering how expensive cartridges are, and how badly disposables irritate, I decided to give it a try. I remembered that my grandfather used to have a really cool razor (not pictured above-but the one I have is just like it; only way better, because it was my grandfather's), so I called mom. She found it and brought it to me.

Now the website had also warned about the dangers of using such a razor, especially if you're used to disposables. So I carefully lathered up with shaving cream (yes, I used a brush for that-I'm old school all the way, baby) and gave it a go. And you know what? I think I got the best shave of my life. My face was about 16 kinds of smooth-and I didn't even nick myself. I can't tell you how happy I was with the results, and how proud I was at myself for not severing my carotid artery in one, clean stroke.

But the point of this post isn't to brag on myself for avoiding self-mutilation. Using the old razor actually got me thinking about how sometimes, older is better. Gramps' old razor is way better than any of the new stuff I've used; and believe me, I've just about used it all. His razor is better for the environment-rather than buying new cartridges each month, or using disposable razors that will pretty much never go away, all I waste is a small blade. In fact, I could even recycle it if I really gave a hoot about the environment. Point is, sometimes older is better. That's true with razors and it's also true in our walk with God.

Jeremiah 6:16 says, "Thus says the LORD: “ Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls." God instructs His people to ask for the 'old ways', i.e., the ways of obedience to Him. We live in a world that is always looking for the next new thing, the next great thing. And to be fair, I suppose that's always been the case. But we're always on the lookout for the next new thing; especially in the church. Go to the bookstore and see how many books you can find that all seem to have the next big idea, the next new thing to try. People snatch those books up as quickly as they can, try some of the ideas; and a few months later are hungry for the next new thing.

Now don't misunderstand, there are times when churches need to make changes. If you think the only music that honors God comes from a piano, you're wrong. If you think the King James Version is the only Bible worth reading, you're wrong. If you think "the blacks" ought to stay in "their" churches and not bother us in ours, you're wrong. Some things need to change. But some things need to stay the same. There are some old paths that we ought to never turn away from: paths of obedience and holiness and prayer and personal times of devotion with God's word. Those are old paths-but they are good paths. God's word promises that when we walk in these old paths, we find rest for our souls.

Could it be that the gnawing hunger in our souls, the craving that we interpret as a desire for something new could actually be filled by something old? Could it be that, rather than calling out for something new, our souls are calling our for something as old as our faith itself? Let's don't turn away from the old paths. Again, I'm not suggesting churches and Christians should never change-of course we should. But there are some things we ought never change; our commitment to God's word, our commitment to sharing the gospel through our words and our actions, and our commitment to personal holiness. Seek the old paths.

Father, thank You for loving us and saving us. Thank You for laying out the path for us to walk. Help us never deviate from it. Help us to commit ourselves, with all that we have, to staying on the paths that you've set for us. Help us to be flexible in our desire to reach others, but help us to be rigid in our commitment to not turn from what You've called us do, and who You've called us to be. Amen.