This is a speech (short sermon/long toast) I gave at my friends’ wedding reception a month or so back.
Jamie asked me to say a few words and I promise I won’t talk too long. Jamie was the best man at my wedding 17 years ago. I’m happy to say that I am still married after all these years. I am honored to be able to say a few words here today. Think of my talk today as a cross between a short sermon and a really long best man’s toast!
I want to read a passage from the Bible, I am reading from the Message version of the Bible. The Message is a paraphrase of the Bible and the authors have attempted to write the scriptures in a straight forward manner. This is 1 Corinthians 13. It is the Love Chapter of the Bible. This passage pretty much provides a biblical definition of Love.
1 Corinthians 13 The Message (MSG) The Way of Love
1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Love Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
I have just a few observations about love and marriage as it relates to this passage. Here is the main point of my commentary: Are you ready? Love is a choice. It isn’t a feeling or emotion. It isn’t what you feel when you first realized you were attracted to each other. It isn’t what you feel after a first kiss. Love is how you react to feelings and emotions. Love is a choice and more specifically a series of choices.
Love is dynamic. The love you have for each other is always changing. It either grows as you make the choice to love better. Or it fades as you make selfish choices-the choice to love yourself or an outsider rather than each other. Love changes with the maturity of choices we make. It starts with baby choices, to ask someone out, to spend time, energy, and money on another person and grows into much bigger choices, such as exclusive dating, engagement and spending the rest of your lives together in marriage.
Love is a continual choice. Choices don’t stop with a confession of commitment. You are going to wake up tomorrow and have to make a conscience choice to love. Every day you have the choice to deepen in your love for each other.
Finally love is an intentional choice. It isn’t easy to always make the choice to be patient, or kind, to not get jealous, or to boast or to be proud. Be careful to intentionally choose to love. You don’t have to have it your way! And some days you will make a mistake. Love also covers a multitude of sins; humble yourself and admit when you are wrong and make the choice to forgive.
Every morning I take my little boys to school. I have a kindergartener and a 2nd grader. As I drop them off I kiss them goodbye, give them a big hug, I tell them that I love them and then I whisper into their ears, “Make good choices today.”
So here is my challenge and my “best-man” toast: Make an intentional choice every day to love each other. Choose to love each other every day. Big hug, kisses, I love you guys and make good choices.