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.