Not to long ago I had a married person in Christ say to me, “How can you give a married person advice if you have never been married or if you are divorced?” Then I saw this same person give a single person in Christ advice about being single in Christ when they themselves were never single in Christ. I was bewildered and dumbfounded and had to ask myself what made this person a reliable source on being single in Christ when they never were? The answer is they can not be a reliable source. They can quote the word of God all they want but can not give you any of their own life’s experiences. I am not at all saying that a single Pastor can not minister to a married couple or a married Pastor can not minister to a single person because we all should understand that they are God’s chosen vessels. What I am saying is as a church community we must treat single people of God with more compassion and love than we do.
The Apostle Paul and his partner Barnabas spent their lives in Christ single. I am truly convinced they would not have had as much vigor for their ministry work if they had been married. When you are married your duties as a husband and as a wife are added to your duties in ministry. Paul and Barnabas’s duties were so heavy that they led a life of celibacy because God came first. Paul speaks very eloquently on this subject in 1 Corinthians 7:32-38 where he says an unmarried man can spend his time doing God’s work and thinking how to please Him. A married man’s and woman’s interests are divided because they have to please one another and care for their family. Paul goes on to say he wants us to serve the Lord with as less distractions as possible. He ends saying the person who marries does well, and the person who doesn’t marry does even better. So, is Paul telling us being single is a gift from God?
The New Living Translation Bible states when churches and community organizations orient most of their ministry around family concerns, single people can be made to feel they are unimportant or even defective. Yet Paul sends a clear note of encouragement to those who are not married. The absence of a marriage bond gives a person freedom and opportunities that married people do not often have. The simple advice: If you are single, do not succumb to the feeling that your life is incomplete without a partner. Ask God to show you how to use your gifts, including your single status, to serve Him and find fulfillment.
I am conveying this message to God’s people not to condemn marriage but to uphold singleness in Christ. God created marriage in Genesis 2:21-24 so man would not dwell alone but he also created singleness in Genesis 2:15-20 so we could concentrate on His kingdom. So why is it that the singles in the church play the background to married members and sometimes even the children? Why is it that some church members condemn some single members for still going to the club when they never knew what the pull of the world was like being single in Christ? There are no easy answers to those questions but there are some solutions that can help those questions get answered. One is on a Friday evening invite the singles over for a night of Christian Fellowship. Show them they are important and loved because if you do not do this the enemy surely will. Show them there are true alternatives to living in the world as a single male or female. Some will fall to the wayside, some will not but it can never be said you did not present them with a choice to live a single life in Christ. Let’s give God all the glory. AMEN!