Summary: A Wedding sermon preached February 18, 2006 @ Beaver Creek Lutheran Church, Forest City, Iowa. Some material from Rev. David Zachrich & Rev. Paul Cain.
J.B./J.M. Wedding Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 “Better Together”
February 18, 2006 Beaver Creek Lutheran Church, Forest City, IA (ELCM)
Rev. David R. Zachrich, D.Min & Rev. Paul Cain, credit
God said it first, at the time of creation, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen 2:18). Many years later, King Solomon repeated the same sentiment in the words of our text, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Strength like that is exactly what you seek as you begin your life together. It is the kind of strength we all seek in our families and friendships. It is a strength God wants to give us so that our marriages are strong and enduring. Unfortunately, it is a strength that is not always seen because of the sin of selfishness which separates us from God and from each other.
It isn’t always easy to give willingly of ourselves for someone else. Our nature tempts us to look after ourselves, to assert our own rights, to seek our own needs. I always laugh, for example, about a couple—not unlike other couples here today—as they anticipated their life together. Sue was certain Sam would make a wonderful husband, especially after she met his parents. “They’re so nice to each other,” Sue remarked. “It’s great how your dad brings your mom coffee in bed every morning!” On the first morning after their wedding, Sue again mentioned Sam’s father’s habit of bringing his wife coffee in bed. She asked with a smile, “Does this trait run in the family?” “It sure does,” Sam answered with a smile of his own, “and I take after my mom!”
In the sense of serving ourselves first, we all take after our spiritual parents, Adam and Eve. But God has promised wonderful blessings if we, by faith, take after his Son, Jesus Christ.
To find strength, companionship, and joy in your marriage, let the following principles from God’s Word guide you.
Down, but Not Out
Solomon began this portion of Scripture by noting, “Two . . . have a good return for their work: if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
Billy Graham has often spoken about his in-laws, Nelson and Virginia Bell, noting that they had a beautiful and lengthy marriage. As the years passed and their health began to change, Ruth Graham one day entered her parents’ home to find her father on his hands and knees putting shoes and stockings on his wife. He looked up at his daughter and said with deep affection, “You know, the greatest privilege of my life is taking care of your mother” (Marriage Partnership, vol 9, no 4, p 14).
There will be times in your marriage when you will be “down”—emotionally, physically, financially—but you will never be “out”; that is, unable to stand again, because you will, in love, lift each other love as God, through Christ, has done for you.
Cold, but Warming Up
Yes, when we are together in marriage, there is someone to lift us when we fall and, Solomon continued, to warm us when we are cold. “If two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?”
Solomon is reminding us of more than being cold because our spouse has tugged the blanket to his or her side of the bed. He wants us to recognize the importance of sharing for the deepening of our relationship. Success in marriage does not depend on finding the right person, but on being the right person. Jesus encourages us with his words, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13). And that is exactly how he loved us. He gave his life for ours when he died on the cross to take away our sins, including the sin of excessive self-love. One result of his resurrection is that we are enabled to share ourselves and all that we have with each other. When we do, no one is left out in the cold.
Under Attack, but Not Overwhelmed
When we are together in marriage, there is someone to lift us when we fall and warm us when we are cold. There is also someone to help us overcome when we are under attack. Solomon added, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.”