Monday, September 04, 2006

To Joel and Liz

My kid brother, Joel, was married on August 12, 2006. I stood as his Best Man. Below is the manuscript of the toast I delivered at the reception:

I am a new face to some of you. I am Joel's older brother, Scott, older by two years. I have had the privilege of knowing Joel his entire life, and I do not remember my life without a brother.

In Joel I have been blessed with a younger brother who has been following two years behind me, doing many of the same things that I have done, but doing them better than I ever did.

Joel and I each entered public high school after each spending nine years in Christian elementary school. It wasn't until the end of my sophomore year in high school that I began to feel like I was making friends and feeling comfortable. Two years later, Joel entered already with a best friend in Alex Richards, and Joel was a big man on campus before the end of his first class.

I played baseball, my first love, for four years in high school, and finally made the varsity team my senior year. Joel played basketball, his first love, for four years, and was receiving varsity consideration during his second year, and starting varsity his third year!

After graduation, I decided that Geneva College was a responsible, practical, safe decision. I applied, and was accepted. Two years later, Joel set his sights on Grove City College, one of the most prestigious and elite Christian schools in the country. He was, of course, accepted; Joel thrived, and graduated with honors.

I chose Engineering as an academic discipline because it led to a definitive career path. Graduate with an Engineering degree, become an Engineer. I think that Joel chose Communications just so he would have the freedom to change his mind. You can't very well graduate with a Communications degree and get a job as a...Communicator, now can you? You need to do something else.

I took an engineering internship before my senior year in hopes that it would turn into a full-time position after graduation. I was planning for the future, getting my ducks all lined up in a row. Joel took an internship last summer, and after only a month decided, "I don't think I wanna work here after college, but for now I get these free golf balls with Yankee logos on them!"

My wife and I have stayed in New Jersey, and the Lord has blessed us abundantly there. Our decisions were, of course, practical ones. We wanted to remain close to our church, our family, our support group--and all the free baby-sitters. I think that Joel, on the other hand, must have looked around New Jersey and said, "Here I am in New Jersey. I don't have a car. I don't have a full-time job. I may as well be without a car and without a job in a place like Virginia Beach."

Joel, Wes Wallace's prophecy has come true. You have grown up taller, bigger, and in many ways, better than I will ever be. You have a tendency to do the things that I have done, and do them better than I ever did.

So this is my challenge to you:

Be a better husband that I am. By the grace of God, be a better husband than every man in this room. If there are ways in which I am a godly man and a good husband to Becca, be a more godly man and an even better husband to Liz. Not as a competition, but for the sake of your wife, and for the glory of God.

Love Liz more than yourself, but love her second. The only way that you will be a husband worthy of any praise is if you first love the Lord your God with all your heart, and then love Liz more than yourself.

It is only by the grace of God that you can aspire to these goals, and by His grace, may you achieve them.

I am so proud to be your brother, and I am overjoyed to be sharing today with you. May the Lord bless you both. May you be the best husband you can be--for the glory of God, and for the sake of your bride.

To Joel and Liz!