I grew up in the 80s. And I am a sucker for 80s nostalgia: Back to the Future, Bruce Springsteen, and Nintendo NES are some of my fond memories. When I look back on those days, I find myself saying, “Life was so much better back then. It was simpler, safer, and sweeter.”
When the world seems chaotic, we all tend to relish “the good old days.” The Old Testament man, Job, did as well. It was after he lost all and suffered tremendously, that an entire chapter is devoted to his recalling the good old days: “Oh that I were as in months gone by” (Job 29:2).
Christians sometimes believe that if we can get back to the past, we can uncover the good old days of the church when everything was better. But when we really consider it, was the church all that better? The Corinthian church, as one example, was a mess: numerous factions shredded the unity (1 Corinthians 3); a man was sleeping with his mother (1 Corinthians 5); and the church was getting drunk at their communion feast (1 Corinthians 11)—to name only a few problems.
As much as I like the “glory days” (to borrow the refrain from Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 hit) the writer to Ecclesiastes gives us perspective: “Do not say, ‘Why is it that the former days were better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this” (Ecclesiastes 7:10).
You see, when we were children, no matter what generation we grew up in, we did not care about politics, economics, and the host of troubles that plague our world. We went right on playing, riding, and laughing. The world has not changed. It is as corrupt as it has ever been. What changed is our perspective on the world.
It’s ok to look on the past with fond memories. But don’t idolize the past. This world will continue in its corruption. Sinners will be sinners. The only true glory days are days this world has yet to see—when Jesus returns to make all things new! May all the sweet memories of the past be a foretaste of the true “glory that will be revealed in us” as we “wait eagerly for . . . the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:18, 23).
For more on the context of Job’s glory days, see the recent sermon here.