Summary: 1. [Bride & Groom] You are valuable 2. Options require that declare what is most valuable 3. God found you so valuable that he forsook all of his options to save you
Joel, Cathie, when I asked you to read the parable called The Pearl of Great Price, I did so knowing that it was not a traditional or ordinary wedding reading – but then again, neither of you are traditional or ordinary people. Joel, I have had the privilege of getting to know you as a friend and as a colleague at work, and Cathie, it has been a pleasure getting to know you better. The two of you are amazingly wonderful and valuable people. Your wedding marks the beginning of a life together that is bound to be amazing.
This afternoon, as you begin that journey, I’d like to give you a gift from God – some words that I hope you will treasure throughout your marriage. It is the words of a simple story, but one with some valuable lessons that you, like many of those assembled here, may I trust give you strength when you need them later on. The story is pretty simple.
Jesus says that the Kingdom of God is like a merchant. Day in, day out, he deals with pearls. But one day, he finds a pearl so great, and so amazing, that he sells everything he has just to get that pearl. The way Jesus tells it, this is a transaction that just makes a lot of sense. The pearl is so great, so valuable, that everything else fades into insignificance.
Joel, Cathie – both of you have some firsthand knowledge of what that pearl merchant must have felt. You guys are both older, established in your years – and both of you have been in this world long enough to have seen a lot of rhinestones – could-be gems in your time. You’ve both dated, had interests, and frankly both of you are pretty good catches. But you guys have been smart – you’ve both waited for the most valuable person to come along.
Joel, I know that you are one of the wisest people I know. I don’t say that lightly – I work with a lot of smart people and I really value a keen intellect. But you have an insightful way of relating to the world around you. You can capture a situation, almost in haiku. You see the way things work or don’t, and you know the way they should work. You bring an order to chaos. That’s a rare skill and one that will serve you well as you take on the role of guiding this new family in which you will be the Man.
Cathie, you have a persistence and a flexibility that are rare traits to hold in common. Many people who can adapt to anything that comes along don’t always stick with it. And yet, you and Joel worked at being a couple for quite some time. You had the persistence to see a friend become so much more. At the same time, many who are persistent become so rigid that they lose the ability to find joy in where they are and what they are doing. That will serve you well as you nurture this love and this family which you and Joel will adapt and persist at together. You organize conferences – trust me, organizing a family is harder – but I know you are such a treasure that you are bound to succeed at it.
Yes, you two could have had your pick of a lot of people. But you chose each other, and you chose well. As life does its best to split you two apart, it is my hope and my prayer that you will remember how valuable you each are. I hope that tonight, when you finally get to be alone, that you’ll spend a few minutes just telling each other how valuable you are, because there will be days that you will wake up, turn to your partner in bed, and pearl may not be the first word that comes to mind.
But now, knowing what a valuable soul mate you’ve each found, you now are ready to give up everything else to exclusively hold to one another. That is the first expression of your love, and it is the one that will last.
To our ears, we probably wonder whether or not this man who found the pearl got a good deal. I mean, giving up everything else is sure a lot. We like to have options. Options are nice. But options are really just another name for needing to declare what you love the most.
Joel, Cathie, I have to tell you that when you sent me an invitation to the reception, you put me in a place where I had to choose my highest love. The Filet Mignon, the Chicken – even the Ravioli – they all sounded really, really good. I had to choose which one I liked the best. That meant saying no to some other really good choices. Saying no was no reflection on two really good dishes. It was simply an acknowledgement that some savory cow out there is giving its all for my enjoyment in a few minutes.