At almost every wedding – it may be at the rehearsal or at the ceremony itself –there is at least one mistake or moment of crisis. I remember our wedding, for example, where the bride did not arrive until an hour after the ceremony was supposed to commence. She claimed that they ran behind getting everyone’s hair fixed and the delay was compounded with an exceptionally foggy night, making travel to the church building take twice as long as normal. You can ask her yourself if she wants to stick to that story.
One of my favorites comes from a wedding rehearsal. It seems the minister told the father of the bride, “As you give your daughter’s hand to the groom, you should say something nice to him.” The father, a grocery store manager, took the advice. During the wedding ceremony, he placed the bride’s hand on his future son-in-law’s hand and said, “No deposit, no return.”
In John 2, we have a very human story along these lines. Jesus and his disciples are at a wedding, and Jesus’ mother is there. But there is about to be a big problem at this wedding. They had not planned properly, and they were quickly running out of refreshments for the guests. In particular, they were running out of wine; once they ran out of wine, the celebration would be over. That’s when Mary stepped in. She said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5)
That is a profound statement. Have you ever pondered its deeper significance? Have you ever considered what a transformation would be made in this world if all of us took that advice? It would bring happiness to this world. It would bring eternal life in the world to come. Let’s recall some of the things that Jesus has said and contemplate them with Mary’s advice ringing in our ears.
We would let our light shine as Jesus said in Matthew 5:16. We would let it shine so brightly and clearly that people would be attracted to the church. We would have a preserving influence like salt that he mentions in the same passage. People get their opinion of the church and of Jesus from us, from the way that we live. What do people think by the life you and I live?
We would put the kingdom of God first in our lives. That is what Jesus said to do in Matthew 6:33. In context, Jesus is teaching the folly of worry and anxiety. He uses the birds of the air and the flowers of the field as an illustration, reminding us that God cares for them. If we put the kingdom first, the other things will fall into place and be taken care of. We must put the Lord and his kingdom first in our lives. We cannot put our loved ones first, we cannot put our jobs first, we cannot put our pleasure first. God must come first.
We would treat others the way that we want to be treated as Jesus said in Matthew 7:12. We do not want others to gossip about us, so we will not gossip about others. We want to be treated kindly, so we must treat others kindly. And the teaching has even more far-reaching implications than our attitudes. Imagine that we had never heard the story of Jesus; would we want someone to share the gospel with us that would save our souls?
All of these teachings come from the Sermon on the Mount. We could go on drawing just from that great message. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44) Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. (6:19-20) Do not be anxious about tomorrow. (6:34) These are admittedly hard sayings. But what if we actually had the audacity to live them out?
Do whatever he tells you.