New Life

Remember the story of Aladdin and his magic lamp? There are various versions of it in circulation, but the basic story is that Aladdin finds a lamp with a genie who can grant wishes. Back home with it, his mother (not recognizing its value) is tricked by a door-to-door salesman into trading the genie-enhanced lamp for a nicer-looking, non-magical lamp. The salesman knew about the value of Aladdin’s lamp, and offered the better looking (but worthless) copy to try to gain that treasure. The pitch he gave was, “New lamps for old! New lamps for old!” It was as deceptive as the line you might read today in an e-mail today, one that promises you a portion of $17 million dollars if you will just give your bank account number so that it can be deposited.

History is full of shady agents out to separate fools from their money, or leaders who have deceived crowds into following them in a war of conquest of a neighbor who had something that they wanted. But in spite of these bad examples, there have also been many, many honest businessmen or politicians who have truly wanted to provide their customers or subjects with a quality product or quality leadership.

Jesus, in his role as a salesman, did his best to explain to a teacher of the law in Israel what it was like to be part of the kingdom of God. In John 3:1-21 you can find the full details of his sales pitch. He told this Pharisee about being “born again” through God’s Spirit, and the change to a person’s life that happened when he was exposed to the light of God. He also told the Pharisee that when truth entered his life, the results could be plainly seen by all. The change on on the inside resulted in a visible change on the outside.

Wayne Watson released an album in 1982 called New Lives For Old. The title track of that album tells the story of someone who was radically changed by his encounter with Jesus. Like the salesman in the story of Aladdin, he was offering something new in exchange for something old; but unlike the Aladdin story, this new thing was the real thing, and it was worth everything to an old carnival man. This clip was taken from The Larry Black Show, so Larry has some comments at the end.

They say he ran a carnival
That used to come to town
Till one September afternoon
He shut it down

They tell me something happened
Some say he lost his mind
Now most September afternoons
This is what you’ll find

An old man on the corner
Where he used to sell his show
Now he shouts what sounds like foolishness
As the people come and go

“New lives for old!
Warm hearts for cold!
Have I got a deal for you today
Come on, step right this way
And get your new lives for old!”

He puts it in the paper
He goes from door to door
The people say, “He’s such a fool
To come back for more!”

Old friends are mostly puzzled
They don’t know what to say
‘Cause ever since that afternoon
He’s just been that way

It’s like the old man died
And someone came to take his place
Now he just stands out there bellowin’
A smile upon his wrinkled face

“New lives for old!
Warm hearts for cold!
Have I got a deal for you today
Come on, step right this way
And get your new lives for old!”

Remembering this story
As I once passed through that town
I thought I ought to stop and see
If he’s still around

There was someone on that corner
Where I heard he’d alway stand
And he chuckled when I asked him
Where I could find the man

He said, “Thank God that crazy fool
Finally died last spring.”
And I said, “I’ll take up where he left off, then
‘Cause I’m pushing the same thing!”

“New lives for old!
Warm hearts for cold!
Have I got a deal for you today
Come on, step right this way
And get your new lives for old!”

4 responses to “New Life”

  1. Sorry; that’s apparently part of the spam filter. Don’t know what “too short” is, but I guess it has to at least be more than three letters. 🙂

  2. Reading through the preview of the song lyrics, my first thoughts are of “the shepherds abiding in the field keeping watch over their flock by night” who are approached by an angel with good tidings of great joy.” They went with haste to see the new born king, lying in a manger and they were amazed. Like the old man on the street corner in the song lyrics, the shepherds went immediately to tell others about the change in their lives since they had met the Savior. If everyone who receives this “new life” in exchange for the “old” would tell others the “good tidings of great joy” would spread globally.

  3. Thank you for posting “New Lives for Old”. I am one of the fools who took the old man’s place.

    Father, where your children find drink becomes a place of blessing. I bring this place to your attention as a place for a cool drink. May you remember this come that day. In the name of your beautiful Son, Jesus.

    by His Grace.

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