One of the strangest weddings that I ever conducted was for a young woman and her fiancee who was on leave from the army. The two families slowly gathered for the Rehearsal. We were running about an hour late, but still the groom’s brother was missing. Eventually, we decided to go through the rehearsal without the best man and work it out later. Naturally, we were all concerned about him. There was the hope that he had just forgotten. Cell phones were not common yet, so it wasn’t until his parents got home that they starting calling around. Phone messages were left. Calls were made to friends. No one had seen him. Any number of fears raced through their minds.
Wedding plans were still on, while his family worried. At some point, just before the wedding, the missing brother called home. He announced that he had flown to California from rural Minnesota with his girlfriend the day before. The two of them had decided to elope and get married there. No concern about his family entered his mind. No thought of the hurt his brother would experience cautioned him to stay. No promise to be the best man at his brother’s wedding carried any weight.
We are known by our commitments. How trustworthy are we? Does our word mean anything? When we say “yes” will we follow through? Jesus told an interesting story about two brothers found in Matthew 21:28-32. Both brothers were asked by their dad to go into the vineyard to work. The first son refused to go, but later changed his mind and decided to care for the vineyard. The second son, immediately promised to go, but when the day was done, he had not set foot in the vineyard. Then Jesus asked the crowd which of the sons was the one who did what his father wanted.
I think Jesus was getting at the quality of our commitments. What does our commitment to Christ mean to us? What does it look like? Do our commitments have depth? Who can rely on us? How good is our word?
While everyone at that strange wedding was pretty disgusted with the missing son, at least we did stop worrying about him and imaging a disaster. The groom’s good friend became the best man. And a lowly usher stepped into the Bridal party. Both friends felt honored to be asked.
It was going to take a long time though, before trust grew between the two brothers. The real question of course, isn’t how thoughtless that missing brother was, but where do our commitments lie? And how true are we to our promises? Can Jesus rely on us?