Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

The Wedding or the Groom?

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Recently a sweet girlfriend posed this scenario to a mission team with which she was working:

Suppose your best friend is getting married. Unfortunately she scheduled her wedding on a Sunday, making it impossible for you to worship the Lord on Sunday AND attend the wedding. Which should you choose?

My friend was extremely disappointed that her fellow “missionaries” all said they would choose the best friend’s wedding. Seeking advice about how to respond as she was given the opportunity to address the topic of commitment with them later in the week, my friend asked for any thought I might have about the scenario, the choice and what the heart of a Christian in such a situation should be. Here are my thoughts:

Let’s think about another scenario:

Let’s say you’ve contracted an infectious disease which will eventually exact your life. All’s been done that can be done. It’s just a matter of time for you. Only one thing could save you, but it would require the blood of someone who matches your blood type…all of it. It would require that another give His life for you.

But suppose one morning, a friend’s family walks in your hospital room and tells you that he’s already done it for you. The pure blood has already been deposited in the blood bank in your name. Your friend has given his life so that you would not die. Your friend has given you the ultimate gift. So you have the required procedures and transfusions and, as you finally, whole and extremely thankful for the sacrifice your friend has made, prepare to leave the hospital where you would have died, your dad hands you the note your friend left behind. Your friend asks that you remember him each week in a special way with his family. He asks that you go and be with His family each Friday (the day of your friend’s funeral) for a couple of hours and that you spend some time remembering his life and death… telling his brothers and sisters and his children about the one who gave His life for you and spending a few quiet moments with them just remembering. He wants His children to perpetually be encouraged through you.

And so you do. You become very close to the family of your friend. Week after week at the time appointed you visit with his family. You hold his children close and tell them stories about your friend. You quietly remember that day that he literally gave you the gift of life.

Now, suppose there’s a conflict. A friend is getting married during the time that the memorial is to occur. Should you just skip the memorial…or should you write your friend, a sweet note that says something like this?…

“I love you much. There is no one that I’d rather see engaged to a wonderful man and then as a happily married woman than you! You know I love you. But you know where I’ve committed to be every week at this time. If it were anything other than this obligation, believe me, I would want to be with you. But this is absolutely the top priority in my life. It just has to be. I will not let the one who gave his life for me down. I have promised myself and my family that I will never let anything take precedence over this commitment. Know how much I care. I am reserving another day (you pick the day) just to celebrate with you.”

It’s easy to see what you would do. How much more boldly should we be making the choice for Christ every single Lord’s Day? No earthly friend should ever even be in the competition with our hearts’ affections for our Savior. He gave His life…not a life that was already messed up…but a life that was perfect, without sin, to redeem us from eternal hell. There should never even be a question about the decision to assemble with the family of God, above all else, every single Lord’s day when that family assembles. He asked us not to forsake that commitment (Heb. 10:25).

Now, back to the wedding/worship scenario you presented. When writing that letter to my “best friend” about my prior commitment to the Lord, I should add another line or two:

“It makes me very sad when people choose to preclude worship in deference to things that we think are more important. It makes me sad that all of the people who will be at your wedding will be missing the one activity that is so far more important than your wedding. I know that you already know where I am coming from. Of course you do…we are best friends! I hope we can be best friends forever. That means all the way to heaven and through eternity. But for now, I have to make this choice for myself even without your support, because I will have to meet my Lord in the judgement day all by myself. The One who gave His life for me will look me in the eye on that day. I want to see him face to face and hear the words, ‘Well done.’ You know I love you, girl. There is just One that I love more!”

You may be thinking, “But my best friend will only have one wedding day. I think I should be there for her.”

And you are partly right. She will only have one wedding day. You will only have this one chance to make this clear statement about your commitment to Christ. You will only have this one chance to influence her in this powerful way. She will never forget the example you set on this day. She may respond in silence. She may act hurt. She may respond in bitterness. But throughout her life, whenever she thinks of you, she will remember that you were true to your conscience. She can never accuse you of being hateful or rude or unkind. But she will remember. And one day, she may respond to your letter by making some decisions for heaven. You never know.

One thing’s for sure, though. You will not lead her to the Lord by compromising your convictions. You may enjoy the spot up there in the wedding party as the maid of honor. You may look at the pictures throughout ensuing years. But each time you do you will remember compromise. If you are faithful when you remember, you will regret. You will know you broke a commitment to the Savior. You will wish you could just go back and do it again. But those one-time opportunities that life presents us to sacrifice for the One who gave all for us are rare and, of course, can never be recalled.

p.s. I know it’s not an exact parallel. But Jesus did give His life for me. I did make a commitment to Him and it is not the easy things that make me grow. It’s the sacrificial stuff that has the biggest positive impact on my future and my children. It’s also the stuff that’s hardest to explain to non-believers that generally makes the biggest impression on a soul that may be seeking. Commitment pays…a hundred fold!

Jesus said, Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,
who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life (Mark 10:29, 30).

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