“Mobilizing the Church: Single Christians”Categories: Christian Attitudes, Preaching, The Bible, The Church
Many churches have a significant percentage of their members who are single. Excluding children, many of the adult members are not married. There are a number of reasons for this ever growing demographic in the Lord’s church.
- Human lifespan is longer – there are more widows and widowers
- The divorce rate is higher – sometimes even among Christians.
- Many never marry – some are unasked; some are unanswered. And a higher percentage than ever either decide not to marry or else they are waiting until later in life to marry.
I realize that this can be very discouraging to some who fall into this category and who would love to be married if the right situation would arise. Some are content in their singleness and have made a conscious decision not to marry.
But I am afraid that there are too many single Christians who feel that they cannot serve the Lord effectively because they are single and so, as a result, as powerful force is left untapped in many congregations.
There are many positive and valuable things that a single Christian can do and I would like to remind you of some of those things in the hopes that we can mobilize a group of disciples who can make a huge difference in the life of a church in the here and now and a great difference in other people’s eternal destiny.
1) Do not become discouraged.
Being single is no reason to have a low self-esteem. Singles sometimes ask, “What’s wrong with me?” Nothing is wrong with you, except perhaps that you are focusing on the wrong thing. Look to your strengths, talents, and abilities. (Married people who concentrate only on what they can’t do or don’t have will never be happy either.)
There are many great men and women of God in the Bible who were single (either never having married or having lost a spouse). In the Old Testament, some of them were Elijah, Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Mordecai. In the New Testament, we have Paul, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, John the Baptist, Timothy, Barnabas and, of course, Jesus.
When you find yourself feeling lonely, do something for someone else to take the focus off of your aloneness. Visit with friends, enjoy the children of others (buy them things; take them places you would like to go, like the zoo, a museum, etc.). Just keep busy doing something.
2) Recognize your opportunities.
The apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 7:7-8, recommends the single life. He is not forbidding people to get married (1 Timothy 4:3), but he wants you to realize that you are definitely not a second class Christian if you are unmarried.
The fact is that marriage divides a person’s interests into two areas – serving the Lord and being with your mate. An unmarried person has the time to do things for God that married people often cannot do. Notice this passage from 1 Corinthians 7:32-35:
“But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord – how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world – how he may please his wife. There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world – how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.”
He continues on to discuss one who does not give his daughter in marriage and says that such a one have chosen what is better. There are some advantages in being single over being married. (There are also advantages in being married over being single. It is not all one sided in either direction.)
Some advantages a single Christian has are:
- Can be more spontaneous
- Freer to come and go
- No one to answer to about time
- More time to study the Bible and pray
- Have get-togethers at your place (make it a potluck)
- More time to attend gospel meetings in other places
- Often in a position to contribute more than average to the church
- Galatians 6:10
3) Maintain sexual purity.
This is very important. A single Christian must work very hard, with the Lord’s help, to keep himself or herself pure.
There are two important things to watch out for – your friends (1 Corinthians 15:33) and your activities (Ephesians 5:11).
Remember that you are be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). Don’t let your unmarried status be an excuse to sin it up. Think about the example you are setting for others.
4) Help others.
One of the biggest problems of single Christians is turning inward, only being concerned with self. Give of your self to others (Acts 20:33-35; Matthew 20:25-28).
Matthew 19:10-12 speaks of those who refuse marriage (“make themselves eunuchs”) for “the kingdom of heaven’s sake.” Being single often gives you more time to help others.
- The needy – James 1:27
- Sick, hungry, lonely people – Matthew 25:31-46
- Spiritually weak – Galatians 6:1-2
- The lost – Matthew 4:19
If you find yourself in this situation, by choice or by circumstance, use it to the glory of God. The church has a huge army of single, godly men and women out there who need to be mobilized in His service. Realize that this is an opportunity to serve God and the church and the world around you in a way that will make a difference in the lives and eternity of others. May God richly bless you.