Real Solutions for Real Life
- Friday, September 12, 2003
The book from which these columns are drawn seeks to apply the truth and the heart of Scripture to the single life in a way that is practical, but not simplistic. Much of today's popular advice to singles is both simplistic and ineffective. It basically tells people just to cope with singleness as cheerfully as possible.
And coping can seem like an answer to a lot of problems. Coping techniques come in many forms, such as throwing ourselves into careers, or going from one relationship to another looking for Mister/Miss Right. One more example: If your best time is spent in front of the TV or PC, you are probably coping. Coping, you see, is anything we do to pass the time while we wait for life to "really begin."
But there are big problems with coping. A man once told me, "If the only tool you have in your tool box is a hammer, all your problems will look like nails." Coping can be that kind of tool.
Like a hammer, coping is convenient and requires little training to use. My hammer may help unstick a door, but it won't do a very good job fixing the hard drive on my computer. In fact, I've realized that when I get my hammer out to solve a problem, it's probably because I'm out of real solutions. It's the same with coping. It's reactive, not creative. It just doesn't deal with the issues of life in useful ways.
Coping won't do. Neither will fantasy, avoidance, nostalgia, diversion, or any other of a host of "one size fits all" tools we might find stashed in the bottom of our life-management tool boxes. We need better tools-solid, versatile, and fit for use by everyone from the novice to the craftsman. The Rich Single Life attempts to provide some of those tools.
The idea of "richness" in the title of the book has to do with substance, a weight and permanence to life that is not devalued by cultural or personal fluctuations. It has to do with abundance, an overflow that elevates life above the poverty of weakness and loss. It has to do with wherewithal, or purchasing power. The rich single life is not inconsequential; it registers in the marketplace of human existence. It is the precise opposite of coping.
The rich single life is one of investment and return. It requires active wisdom and wise activity to maintain and develop. But as Jesus promises in numerous parables, those who make the right investment will do much more than merely survive. If we plant well, we will harvest. If we manage well, we will be rewarded. If we invest well, we will prosper. This vision is for all believers; it is applied in the book for single people in particular.
An Investment Strategy for the Rich Single Life
To take this analogy one step further, let's assert that the "investment goal" for the single adult is to get rich, in the best sense of the word. In order to achieve our investment goal we need a "vehicle" (banking terminology for things such as CDs, stocks, mutual funds, and the like). The spiritual "investment vehicle" for the single adult is what Paul set out in 1Corinthians 7:35-Undivided Devotion to the Lord. It is a high-risk (in a worldly sense), high-yield tool backed by the eternal decrees and purposes of God himself.
The only thing lacking then is strategy-ways to manage and invest this vehicle of Undivided Devotion for the best possible return. I would like to submit the following mix of investment strategies for your consideration. Each of these eight strategies corresponds to the theme of one of the eight remaining chapters in the book. The strategies are biblically sound and can provide the right mix of short-term protection and long-term growth for any single person's spiritual portfolio.
Chapter Two, "Rich in Identity": The rich single life gains identity from recognizing the extent to which God has gone to fill the gap between who we are and what we can be.
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