Saturday, October 08, 2005

A toast to Steve and Helena Travers!

I first met Steve a few years ago when he was invited to speak to our congregation at the church where my wife and I serve as missionaries. Although in all honesty, I have no recollection now about what he spoke about, I do have a recollection the enormous impact God had on those in our congregation that day. It was clear that God had his anointing upon this man.

Over the years I have gotten to know Steve not only as a fellow minister in Christ, but as a friend and as a brother in Christ. Perhaps it is his testimony or life story, or perhaps it is simply his personality: Whatever the case, I am sure that all of you who know him well would attest that Steve has an incredible gift of encouragement and has an unquenchable passion for the Word. He has brought me encouragement in the low points in my life and has fueled me on in my pursuit of the Word.

So it was with great excitement and anticipation that I learned that he had met the match of his life - his future wife Helena. Steve and Helena met while both serving at a homeless mission in the Downtown Eastside. I still recall Steve sharing with me the incredible heart that Helena has for God and for the people whom she served. Well, Steve and Helena soon fell in love, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I must admit that I don’t know Helena very well personally – I have only met her once before, at another wedding! But this much I can say: Helena, you must be an incredibly loving person. I have seen the incredible joy and happiness that you bring to Steve’s life. Particularly when Steve was in poorer health, you brought encouragement. You brought encouragement to my encourager. When Steve was feeling unsure about his calling in ministry, you brought reassurance. You are the minister to my minister. I have seen God’s faithfulness in bringing you two together. May God bless you in your lifelong commitment to love and to cherish each other in sickness and in health.

Now, no wedding speech would be complete without its usual list of cliché marriage tips – you know the sort: “never go to bed angry, so stay up and argue all night”, “make sure you keep the toilet seat up… or was it down?”, and always remember the three words in a heated argument “I am right – err.. I mean ‘you’re right dear’”

Tonight I want to offer you a set of three tips of the non-cliché sort: Three important things that I have learned from my marriage:

  1. Always remember that a marriage is a relationship between three persons – Husband, Wife and God. Therefore, don’t forget to include God in your marriage. I have found that it is very difficult to go to bed angry at my wife when I have to pray with her every night. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says that “a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
  2. Regardless of whether you leave the toilet seat up or down, the important thing is to flush! Forgive regularly. Colossians 3:13: “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
  3. Finally, genuine humility in marriage goes a long way. Jesus showed us the ultimate example of humility when he came to earth to propose to His bride – the church. John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” The three words “You’re right, dear” when said sincerely are truly one of the keys to a successful marriage.

Well, in closing, I want to offer a toast to our lovely couple tonight. This toast is not only to wish them a great wedding, but to wish them a great lifelong marriage. So, let us all raise our glasses and let us give a toast to Steve and Helena Travers and to this great adventure called marriage for which they are about to embark.

-- excerpted from a toast given by Jonathan to Steve and Helena Travers at their Celebration of Marriage, October 8th, 2005 @ Granville Chapel, Vancouver, BC