The Gift of Singleness
The Gift of Singleness
I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarriedand the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. (1 Corinthians 7:7-9)
The passage above is a snippet of the Apostle Paul’s instructions about marriage and singleness written to the church in Corinth. When was the last time you heard someone preach on this passage? I’m glad we are taking the next four weeks to soak up scriptural truths about relationships through our new sermon series.
Pastor Duane said many important things yesterday about how we should approach relationships, especially dating and marriage. He shared with us the startling statistic that unmarried adults in America now outnumber those who are married. It’s difficult to believe that is reality if we spend a lot of time in fellowship with other Christians. Singleness still seems to be the minority among Christians, but because singleness is the majority in our country, it’s very important for the church to consider singleness as much as we consider marriage.
As a pastor and a single woman, I’ve thought deeply about Paul’s regard for singleness — “one has this gift, another has that.” I don’t know too many Christians who regard or experience singleness as a gift, let alone a gift that rivals marriage! Instead, I see most single Christians, especially the younger ones, reconciled to what they hope is temporary way of life.
But a gift implies much more than begrudging acceptance. A gift means receiving something that will surprise, benefit and possibly even delight us. Every gift comes from a giver; in the case of singleness, the giver is God.
If you are single, take a moment to think of your life from God’s perspective. He looks at you and really sees you. He delights in your uniqueness. Since God created you and knows you completely, he also knows what you need and what you don’t need, what will enhance your life and your grow faith. For some, that gift is singleness, for others, marriage. Whether it’s a temporary or life-long gift does not diminish the value of the gift. Right now, singleness may be the gift God has given you to enjoy, to learn from and to use as a tool to bless others.
I know many Christians who are far from embracing Paul’s perspective on singleness. It can take time to unwrap a gift, take stock of its attributes and learn how it adds value to your life. Some of you may never unwrap the gift of singleness because for you this way of life is painful and lonely; you may never see its goodness. For me it took intentionally processing my own singleness, giving myself wide measures of time and space to truly believe that my life is whole rather than pending, before I could see the richness of my life.
Somewhere in my mid-twenties I stopped wrestling and discovered that I like being single. It has freed me to travel and to experience the adventure of living in 4 states and Canada. I have the time to invest in friendships, to volunteer, to write and to further my education. I’m unmarried but I’m not alone or lonely. I am blessed to drink from an abundant well of friendship.
Above all, I embrace singleness as a gift because it has increased my need for God. Most days I don’t know how I, one lone female, can accomplish all that is required of me. My life takes more energy and logic, patience and strategy, care and surrender than I could ever generate myself. (I imagine the same would be true if I were married!) In the daily voyage that is my life, God is my mainstay. As I grow increasingly dependent on God, I become increasingly free. Singleness has become a good life, a way of joy.
With a grateful heart,