Dear family and friends of the bride and groom, and especially today, dear Jackie and Mac:
The text you’ve chosen is a most appropriate one for your wedding day. The setting is Old Testament Israel, where the people had recently conquered the Canaanites under the leadership of Joshua. The Lord, going before them, had won the battles. He had kept all of His promises to His people, to the last word.
Then the aging Joshua, after all the military campaigns, was about to retire from his post as commander in chief. They had reached a milestone, and they faced a fork in the road for their future. Joshua presented them with a choice—one of two options. They could choose to blend in with unbelieving world around them, OR they could resolve to remain faithful to the true LORD, their Deliverer.
Pastor Bruce Naumann of Messiah Lutheran Church, Eau Claire, Wis. conducted the marriage service of Jaclyn Beekman and MacKenzie Friedrichs on April 16, 2011. To us the pastor wrote: “I asked (this couple) to give the top four reasons for their choice in a spouse. The result was that they practically wrote their own wedding address, and did a fine job. I think their responses would be of great benefit to our young people. Jackie and Mac have given me a green light to submit it to the Spokesman.” — What a wonderful Christian testimony indeed! — Editor
“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,” Joshua told them, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).
Here today we also have a fork in the road. It is a day of choices for the happy couple. In preparation for this day, I asked both Jackie and Mac to list for me the top four reasons why they made the choice for each other. I asked each of them to send me the top four reasons, in order of importance, why they would be choosing this particular person for a spouse.
Here are some of their answers, beginning with the answers they gave of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th importance.
One of Jackie’s answers was “humor.” She said: “We have such similar senses of humor and make each other laugh, him more so than me. He is so clever and well-spoken and makes me laugh all the time, even during hard times, he knows what to say and how to make me smile again. I’m not afraid to act ridiculous around him; he gets it.”
Mac also listed “sense of humor” as one of the reasons for his choice. “I love to laugh and make others smile. Jackie also shares this sense of humor that is needed every day to break up stress. Having this similarity helps bring us closer to each other. Love without laughter would just be no fun I think.”
Jackie, in one of her answers, listed “communication.” She said “I am fairly extroverted but when it comes to talking about the big issues with people, even my family, it’s always been hard for me to broach those subjects without beating around the bush before getting to the point. With Mac, I’ve never felt that hesitation. He listens when I rant and cry about things that are so fleeting, but he is always there for me and I trust him with every word. I can talk to him about ANYTHING, anytime.”
In another of his answers, Mac listed “loving and caring.” “Jackie has a personality which exudes patience, love and caring. She loves others and tries to do the right thing. Her love for God reflects in her daily life, as I have seen up close and personally. From working with the elderly at a nursing home, as well as currently in a hospital, to being around her nieces and directing a children’s choir…Jackie loves the young and old, healthy and sick. She is unselfish, outgoing and caring as she thinks about others and her family, and I am so very blessed to love someone like her who loves me back!”
Jackie mysteriously writes in another of her answers, “This one, I can’t really explain. Mac is my other half. When we were both in college and lived so far apart, I literally felt a hole in my heart when he wasn’t there. All it took was just to be in his presence again with a tight hug and everything feels right again. I know that is so very cliché, but it’s the truth! I feel at home when I’m with him, no matter where I am.”
As I said, these were the “runner-up” answers to the question, “Why have you chosen this particular person?” And now for the reasons of first importance:
For the number one reason Mac listed for his choice of Jackie as his wife, he writes “#1. God-fearing — Jackie’s strength in the Lord and grounded, unwavering faith has definitely been apparent throughout our relationship. She uses her gifts and talents to spread God’s Word, and I know that having her in my life to love and grow old with at a CLC church is the number one reason God gave her to me.”
And the number one reason Jackie listed for her choice of Mac was this: “#1. Our mutual faith. Knowing he understands the reason I live my life the way I do is such a blessing. We have the same morals and values and everything in our lives comes back to God as our strength and reason.”
I think it’s plain today, isn’t it, that on this day of choices, Jackie and Mac’s choice centers on the Lord’s choice for them. That’s where it all starts, of course. Before Jackie or Mac were ever born or the world had ever been made, the Lord made His choice. We read in Ephesians chapter one: “He chose us in [Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight…In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
It is the LORD’s choice that has led you both to Him and now to each other, and that makes us joyful for you this day—joyful, and confident for your future. For as you continue to choose the things of the Lord first in your lives together, we know that all the best blessings will come right along with that choice.
We have Jesus’ word on it! He said that if we pay attention to the main thing, all the other things like loving and caring, communication, sharing life’s joys and woes with a sense of humor, and all the rest will come along in their proper place. Jesus said: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6).
So we thank God this day for His choice that Jackie and Mac would belong to Him as His dear children through faith in Christ. We thank God for the blessings He’s giving to you in each other this day. We also thank God for your choice together to lay the foundation of this household firmly upon the promises of our Savior-God in His Word.
We’re happy for you for many reasons today, but most of all for the firm conviction of faith that you share. It is the same conviction that was spoken by Joshua so long ago: “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” In Jesus’ name. Amen.