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Would You Let Me Preach This At Your Wedding?

March 31, 2006

Ecclesiastes 9:9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun– all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.

Some might regard this as a gloomy verse for a wedding sermon. Some regard the whole book of Ecclesiastes as a gloomy book, but I’ve always found great joy in it. True, there are some downer verses like 7:3 “Sorrow is better than laughter and a sad face is good for the heart” but on the other hand the author says in 8:15 that he “commends the enjoyment of life”. True, he says in 1:18 that “with much wisdom comes much sorrow” but he also says in 8:1 that “Wisdom brightens a man’s face and changes its hard appearance.” How can we reconcile these things?

The Preacher of Ecclesiastes wants to convince us of the vanity of life. That there is an awful lot of futile ambition in the world that is just a chasing after the wind. So there are two kinds of wise counsel in this book given to two sorts of people. It’s a before and after distinction. There’s a wisdom you need to acquire if you still are full of vain ambition. But then there’s another wisdom you need to put into practice once you understand that life is vanity and are freed from anxious striving.

If you are still chasing after the wind, if you are still on the gerbil wheel of academic ambition, or the gerbil wheel of hedonism, or the gerbil wheel of materialism, or the gerbil wheel of pursuing a worldly legacy, then you are the ones the Preacher has in mind when he says that it is better to go to a house of mourning than a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man and the living should take this to heart. You are the ones who need to consider the sobering verses of this book that tell us just how fleeting are both riches and reputation.

But suppose you’ve already learned this lesson, as I believe in great measure you have. Suppose you’ve already gotten off the gerbil wheel. Now what? What do you do once you understand that life is vanity? You enjoy it. You enjoy life. With your wife. Whom you love. All the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun. You eat. And you drink. And you find satisfaction in your work. Because after all, says Ecclesiastes 10:19, a feast is made for laughter, and wine makes life merry, but money is the answer for everything.

Now I hasten to add that you also fear the Lord, says Ecc 12:13, for, says Ecc 2:25 without Him who can eat or find enjoyment? God is the one who will enable you to enjoy life with one another. May God give you the blessing of Ecc 5:20, that you will seldom reflect on the days of your life because God keeps you occupied with gladness of heart.

But of course, not all your days will be joyful. Ecclesiastes 7:14 says “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.” Another gloomy verse? Not so. Pay careful attention to it. What did it say to do when times are good? Be happy. That’s all. Just enjoy it. It’s when times are bad that you need to consider and remember that God is in control and that although you don’t know what the future holds, you know Him who holds the future. But when times are good, be happy. This verse can help cure the anxious habits of our minds. When times are good we too often are looking over our shoulder waiting for the other shoe to drop. Don’t be like that. When times are good, be happy. And times are good! He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord. God has given you to one another. It’s a match made in heaven.

The salient point of Ecclesiastes 9:9 for you today is this: There are many, many things that you will give yourself to in this life that will be a complete waste of time. Your marriage is not one of those things. So Josh, pour out your time and fervent energy into loving your wife and enjoying life with her, for everything you invest into your relationship with K.C. will come back to bless you and increase your joy. And K.C., be persistent and creative in respecting Josh and affirming him and encouraging him and thereby you will be a means of God’s grace to him making him into a godly and loving husband who will lead you into joy all the days of this meaningless life under the sun, all your meaningless days.

I could go on, but Ecclesiastes 6:11 says “The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?” So let’s praise the Lord again in song…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2006 2:51 pm

    Honestly, I don’t know if I’d let you preach this at my wedding. I know my parents would have freaked out though. :) Regardless, I look forward to celebrating with Josh in a few weeks.

    I can picture Josh’s grin as you gave this sermon.

    The real question is, did you wear a coat to this wedding?

  2. April 4, 2006 8:40 pm

    Well, I was a lot younger and foolisher way back then when I made my promises to live, love, rejoice, serve, suffer, and die along side my favorite long-haired guy. I don’t think I would have let you preach
    that sermon, because I was still very much looking to this world to satisfy my desires.

    That said, if we ever renew our vows, I love you so much and trust your love for the scriptures so much, and have been so amazingly blessed by God through your exposition of the Word and your shepherding of our lives in Him over the last 10 yeasr or so, that I
    would let you preach anything you wanted to. *grin*

    Not only that, but I know I would really really really like it.


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