November 3, 2011
The Single “Gift”
Ryan Duncan, The Fish.com
“I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.” – 1 Corinthians 7:7
For the past few weeks my Church has been doing a series of sermons on relationships. The first was dedicated to husbands, the seconds for wives; the third focused on marital intimacy, and last was the customary lesson for singles. Talk about depressing. Being single, I almost didn’t go to the last one. To be fair, the pastor did a good job, but his advice was mostly about how singles should pursue fulfilling relationships.
What I had hoped to learn more about was Paul’s infamous “Gift of Singleness.” I don’t know about you, but the thought of growing old alone scares me, and whenever someone mentions the “Gift of Singleness” I can’t help but roll my eyes in annoyance. How could being single ever be a gift? Romance permeates every fiber of our culture. The biggest pop stars are always singing about their latest hookups and breakups, books and movies make fortunes on romantic storylines, and television, well, have you ever heard of a show called The Bachelor?
Even the Bible can be frustrating. Didn’t God decree in the very beginning of Genesis that it wasn’t good for man to be alone? Eventually, I tracked down the verses Paul used to explain himself.
“I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs--how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world--how he can please his wife-- and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world--how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord”.-1 Corinthians 7:32-36
When I first read this I thought Paul needed to get out more, but after a while I started remembering my best friend’s wedding, and something struck me.
Thinking about him and his new wife, I realized that, from now on, that was their life. They would get a home together, and he’d start searching for a job so he could provide for the two of them. In a few years they’d have their first kid, and if everything went well they may have another a few years later. After that, it would be mini vans, ballet recitals, little league games, and family vacations. It would be a good a life, a happy life, but it also came with a price.
When you lay down roots like those, you can’t just dig them up. You’ll have responsibilities you can’t walk away from, and serving God becomes more difficult. Christ has called us to go out into the world, making disciples of all nations, and to stand against injustice, to feed the hungry, to heal the sick, and to speak for those who have no voice. Could you commit your life to these causes while supporting a spouse and children? I don’t think I could.
So, what are we singles supposed to do? Well, I haven’t given up hope at a relationship quite yet, but in the meantime I’ve started researching ministries like Operation Mobilization and Love146. I may be single, but with Christ, I am also unlimited. Each of us has the potential to impact countless people -- who knows how meaningful our lives may one day become?
Intersecting Faith and Life
Are you single? Try to find ways in which you can dedicate your time to Christ.