Summary: Final Sermon in the series "Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships"
An old man was lying on his deathbed. He only had a few hours to live when suddenly he smelled chocolate chip cookies. He loved chocolate chip cookies more than anything else in the world.
With his last bit of energy he pulled himself out of bed, struggled across the floor to the stairs, and headed down the stairs into the kitchen where he found his wife baking those sweet-smelling cookies.
As he reached for one… SMACK! He felt a slap across the back of his hand. His wife scolded, “Leave those alone; they’re for your funeral!”
An elderly man lay in a hospital bed with his wife of 55 years sitting at his bedside. “Is that you, Ethel, at my side again?” he whispered.
“Yes, dear,” she answered.
He softly said to her, “Remember years ago when I was in the Veteran’s Hospital? You were with me then. You were with me when we lost everything in a fire. And Ethel, when we were poor – you stuck with me then too.”
The man sighed and said, “I tell you, Ethel, you’re bad luck.”
The story’s told of an elderly couple who were visiting with their pastor one day. During the visit they mentioned to him that they had a single-room vacation cabin that they had been sharing with another couple for years.
Goading them a bit he asked, “A single-room cabin with two couples? How did that work?”
“Well, Pastor,” the man replied, “we used to put a curtain across the middle, but now we just take off our bifocals.”
For the past month we’ve been spending our time talking about relationships, love and sex. You’ll remember that at the beginning of this series we discovered the fundamental truth that men and women are different. During the two weeks that followed we looked at relationships through the eyes of both sexes and attempted to do more be better men and women and better husbands and wives. Last week Dr. Brittain tackled a difficult topic with you, that of divorce.
My original plan for this morning was to wrap up this series talking about ways that we can make our marriages last a lifetime. In fact even into the middle of this week that was my goal. I interviewed two couples, one from each congregation, who had been married for more than 30 years and asked them questions about their relationship and about advice they might have for younger couples. While that information was very valuable as I dug into scripture this week the Holy Spirit led me in a different direction.
This morning, I do want to challenge you to find the “love of a lifetime,” but what I pray you’ll discover is that every single person who’s listening can find this love, not just those of you who are married. Let us pray…
I want to start out this morning by looking at a passage from a book of the Bible that we seldom discuss. The book is “Ecclesiastes” and it’s a little short book with only 12 chapters that’s found in the Old Testament immediately following the book of Psalms and the book of Proverbs which if you were to open your Bibles to the very center you would find. The book deals with the pleasures and also the sometimes-harsh realities of life. The author draws a grim picture of life but holds fast to the need to revere God. What you hear over and over again in this book is the idea that so many of the things which we try to accomplish in life are in vain, for we’re all going to die alike.
The one passage that you are probably all familiar with which you may not have realized comes from this book is the text from which Peter Seeger wrote his song, “Turn, Turn, Turn.” Remember that? “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, a time to die…”
Within this book is some incredible truth and one passage in particular which you heard read this morning. Let’s look at that one more time: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 “Two are better than one…” Let’s stop right there for a minute. If you’re following along in your outlines then fill this in: the truth to be gleaned from Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 is that 2 are better than 1. The author of the book goes on to tell us why.
First of all in verse 9 he says “they have a good reward for their toil”. The first reason then is that they can accomplish more together.
We put a new microwave in our kitchen last week. It’s one of those over the stove combination microwave/range hoods. I didn’t think it’d be that big of a job. I took the range hood out and the cupboards down and took them and had them cut down so that we’d have enough room for the microwave. When I finally got the cupboards back and was ready to install the microwave I put the cupboards back in and got the wiring done and the mounting plate attached to the wall. And when I opened the directions to install the microwave it clearly said, “Requires 2 people to install.” I got to tell you, I was certain I could do this by myself, but my wife insisted on helping me. As we lifted the microwave into place I discovered why we needed two people. It was much heavier when you’re trying to hold it in place and screw it up at the same time. It turned out to be more difficult than I first thought. And I couldn’t have done the job by myself. It’s a truth that relates to so many areas of life. We can accomplish so much more when we team up with another person to get a job done.