All the Single Ladies. And Men.

Dear single ladies and single men, the church needs you. I know it can seem otherwise when we talk about the importance of covenant families (they are important) or ask you every week with a wink, “Is there someone special in your life?”, but the fact remains: the church needs you now, not just when you get married and have kids. 

Perhaps we haven’t always done a good job balancing everything the Bible says about marriage and singleness. Maybe we’ve discouraged your use of singleness with an over-emphasis on preparing for marriage. So let’s fix that.

Here’s what we learn from Paul in 1 Corinthians 7: remembering that God is both sovereign and good, we find that singleness is a good gift from God. In his book The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller puts it this way: “…both being married and not being married are good conditions to be in.”  If you are walking faithfully with God and not avoiding marriage out of selfishness, then your singleness is part of God’s good plan for your life, whether that singleness is temporary or lifelong.

We also learn that there are times, whether of persecution or other specific pursuits, that singleness can be a wise choice. The Corinthian Christians were encouraged to factor in the coming persecution to their decisions about marriage. Decisions about singleness and marriage require counsel and wisdom, not just rules.

Perhaps most importantly, we learn that singleness has a unique power. It’s the power of focus and service. While married people have added responsibility that keeps them focused on the home (and rightly so!), singleness allows you extraordinary flexibility of time and energy. Without the burden of a spouse and kids, you are one of the church’s greatest resources of kingdom service.

So to those single ladies and men who are using their singleness selflessly, devoting themselves to Christ’s kingdom, thank you! Last week during my study of 1 Corinthians 7, God opened my eyes to see how deeply important the singles at Immanuel RPC are to our church family. So much of the work of the ministry, including the beginning and maintaining of our ministry at the veteran’s home, would simply not happen if it weren’t for people like you.

To you single ladies and men who haven’t yet caught the vision: don’t let this slip by you! Don’t waste your time with night after night of movies and video games and social gatherings or isolating yourself at home. You may never again have such power of focus and flexibility to serve others. Use it! The church needs you and you’ll be much more joyful as you live out God’s purpose for your life right now.

Finally, dear church: yes, encourage the singles toward marriage and pray for their future spouses. But don’t demean them or their state in life by speaking as if marriage were something necessary to a fulfilled life in the kingdom. Build them up in their service to the Lord. Thank them, encourage them, honor them. The church will be blessed through it.

8 Comments

  1. alcoramdeo May 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    Thank you, Brother Jared.
    It is greatly encouraging to know these truths are being taught.

  2. Kent Butterfield May 14, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Singleness provides an excellent opportunity to spend much time reading and learning God’s word with limited distractions. Singles can do hospitality as well as families. Singles can spend more time with people over all than married people can. There are many advantages to being single. Let me provide a few warnings to some pit falls to avoid for married people talking to singles: Don’t ask, “When are you going to get married?” Another foolish question that annoys singles is: “Do you feel you are called to marriage?” Then one of the worst statements is “You don’t know how easy you have it.” People who marry in their twenties will never know of the struggles and temptations for thirty plus old singles. Singles have no one else to help pay their bills or care for the home. They are sick alone, work alone, shop alone, cook alone and pray alone in their home. Lastly do not “play” match maker. Finding a spouse is not a game or amusement. I had a friend who tried to hook me up with a woman she only briefly met. After further investigation, upon my insistence, she found out that this woman was not only six months pregnant but married. Take care how you speak and treat singles.

  3. Megan Fisher May 14, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    Thank you for this post. It is something that needs to be said in the conservative church community. A community which tends to prep girls to only think about getting married and having kids. I say girls because it tends to be lopsided. Boys are encouraged to think about their vocation, as they will be the bread winner in the family when the kids arrive. Sometimes it seems that for girls it is a side note and not that important. In my observations a whole period of a woman’s life can sometimes be skipped over or seen as insignificant.

    Young people are often told that their most important job is to be mothers and fathers but then we forget to add that it is all in God’s timing and that it may not happen until their 40 or ever, for that matter. Girls (more so then guys) expect that they should be married by 20 and when that doesn’t happen disappointment, discouragement and guilt can set in. We don’t remind them enough of their gift of singleness!

    We would love, love, love to have a few young single people in McKinnon. What a blessing it would be to have that type of worker available in our church community.

  4. Reyburn Photography (@reyburnphoto) May 14, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    A very thoughtful and kind post Jared, thank you. Good balance of honouring marriage but also seeing that it is a good thing but not the only good thing. Good points by Kent also – it is incredible to me how married couples have a huge opportunity to practically encourage single people to marriage, but misuse it by being thoughtless (“why aren’t you married yet?”), or overeager (“this person would be great for you, they are single and a Christian! perfect!”). You could consider a blog to married people on how they could thoughtfully, Biblically, and graciously be of help – I hesitate to say matchmaking, since it is misunderstood and misused, but many single people are too embarrassed to make much of an effort in case it looks desperate. Primarily I would say, encourage the single men, since the burden of pursuit is more upon them (and many single women struggle enough with over-thinking things).

  5. Bob Hemphill May 15, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

    Well said, Jared. thanks.

  6. Nick May 28, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    Christ is the truest and most complete man to ever live, and He never married while on the Earth; His focus was on the eternal marriage to His Bride, the Church.

    That should be a powerful reminder that marriage is not some key to a higher plane of Christian experience; it can be a sanctifying force in one’s life, but ultimately it is a symbol that is passing away, but the reality of union to Christ shall endure forever.

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