The Adult Sabbath School Class

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Greg Brothers is an Adventist pastor in Oregon.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

More!

It’s the first wedding this particular pastor has performed, and he’s a little nervous. But so far, everything’s gone well. The vows have been made. The rings exchanged. And with the end in sight, the minister says, “I now pronounce you husband and wife!”

And then he freezes. He knows he’s supposed to say something else, but he can’t think what it is.

“I now pronounce you husband and wife . . .”

Freezes again. The crowd begins to stir.

Finally, he blurts out the first thing that comes to mind: “I now pronounce you husband and wife – go, and sin no more!”

Okay, it’s not a true story – it’s not even a very funny story.

But it illustrates a point you’ll need to make in this week’s lesson, and that is the nature of desire.

People who aren’t married have pretty much the same desires as the people who are – yet the same behavior we discourage in single people is encouraged in those who are married.

So what’s changed? Why is sexual desire so wrong when you’re single, and so right when you’re married?

The answer, of course, is that sexual desire isn’t wrong; it’s just not enough.

It was Augustine who noted that sin is really nothing more than a lack of something good in our life. Just as cold is the absence of heat, for instance, so too cowardice is the absence of courage, greed is the absence of charity, and anger marks the absence of patience and love.

Then too, even our virtues can steer us wrong if we lack other virtues as well. A soldier in battle needs courage, to give one example – but he needs wisdom as well. For courage without wisdom is foolhardy, just as wisdom without courage gives us all the more reason to be cowards!

In short, our problem isn’t the things we want so much as it is the things we lack. For sexual desire is good (just as courage is good). But just like courage, it’s not enough by itself; just like courage, it works best when something more is added. Something like love. And commitment. And integrity.

And yes, sometimes even a sense of humor.

Pastor Greg

And remember: “God, my heart is too small. Make it bigger!” – Augustine of Hippo.

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