That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one might say, ‘See this, it is new’? Already it has existed for ages which were before us. (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10)
Happy New Year! But, is it really new? No doubt it is a new year on our calendar. And, no doubt this new year will bring new challenges, new highs, new lows, new adventures, new disappointments, and probably a whole lot more. So, in a sense there will be “new” things in this new year.
But, the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon, was stating a scientific truth, since no new energy is being created in the universe. To quote some smart guy:
“The sum of mass/energy in the Universe is fixed; new subatomic entities pop into and out of existence all the time, but they manifest from the background energy of spacetime, and so don’t add to the total mass/energy of the Universe.” (quora.com)
Solomon was a smart guy too. The Bible says he was the smartest guy ever. (1 Kings 3:12) Solomon was also a rich guy. Sadly, his wealth eventually clouded his wisdom and he made some really bad choices. Toward the end of his life, however, he seemed to wise up again, because he came to realize that all the wealth, possessions, and position in this world, were never going to bring true, lasting satisfaction to life.
So, Solomon’s statement, mentioned above, is aimed more at the theological and philosophical truth that so few people seem to understand. And that is that nothing in this world will ever truly satisfy us. The new job will become the old job. The new car will become the old car. The new wife, well, you get the point.
If we really want 2017 to be all that it can be, our aim needs to be not a new level of economic or social status, but a new level of spiritual status. Our relationship with God needs to move to a new and deeper level. Our commitment to the work of the Kingdom needs to take on a new level of sacrifice. The surrender of our lives needs to be new every day. The prophet Isaiah said:
Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. (Isaiah 40:31)
Yes, it’s a new year, and it won’t all be “Happy.” But, we can experience new things with God this year that will be simply amazing! I missed being with you this past Sunday, but this Sunday is a new opportunity to gather together and worship and serve our God. I can’t wait!
Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise in the congregation of the godly ones. (Psalm 149:1)
Dr. J. Clay Stevens is Lead Pastor of Cross Culture Church in Raleigh, NC. He is author of the book I Get It! Discovering How To Really live In The Promises Of God. His life mission statement is: "To take people from where they are to where God wants them to be."