This week and next week, Faye will be joining us on the blog to share her thoughts on singleness.
I’ve been so stirred over the summer by the emails members received telling the stories of those in Gateway, and I noticed a few things have come up about being single in the Church. I was let loose in Bradford a couple of years ago to speak on singleness, and I thought I’d forward a little of what I shared. After all, each of us have been, are, or will be single at some point in our lives, whether that’s because of divorce, purity, same sex attraction or widowhood. Each person will have a different take on being single and will no doubt feel differently about being single in different chapters of their life and walk with Christ, but as we all have been or will be single at some stage in our lives this is perhaps for everyone.
The apostle Paul when writing to the Church in Rome writes about us having different gifts according to the grace given us and uses this same word “gift” (or charis in the Greek which takes its root from the word grace) to the Church in Corinth when he says “I wish that all men were as I am [single]. But each man [or woman] has his own gift from God, one has this gift, another has that.” It was this gift of singleness that caught my heart and attention.
A wanted gift
I recently had a big birthday and received some very lovely gifts, one of which was a scarf; it’s nice, it fits and feels comfortable, it suits me and I guess this is where I sit for the most part with being single. Having experienced a long-term relationship with someone who wasn’t my “yoking” that started before I became a Christian, I know both the riches and the difficulties relationships can bring; I think as a single person it can sometimes seem like the grass is greener on the married side. Marriage and relationships, like being single, can be gloriously happy or gloriously disappointing. We can romanticise marriage and children and make it an idol or even a stumbling block in our life; the truth is I had to compromise God as first in my life for a long time and it was hard. It certainly wasn’t greener. I remember a friend asking me when I broke off the relationship: “Are you lonely?” I explained that I was lonelier sat next to someone when it wasn’t right in Gods eyes.
A useful gift
The apostle Paul tells us that the gift of singleness means we can concern ourselves with God and His works and be free from concern of our spouse and/or children. If you are single in the Church today, Biblically you have been given a gift and are a gift from God to others. Just as we’ve been reading in Romans and we read in Corinthians, we are different but form one body; we are joined and equal. How are we administering our grace gifts in the Church? How are we loving and serving our married friends? Peter says each one should use whatever gifts he’s received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t know the fullness of God without my married friends in Gateway. They inspire and teach me in ways of sacrifice, sensitivity, hospitality, devotion, faithfulness, fun, enduring love and friendship. Married friends you are extravagant in your time and love and model marriage wonderfully; you are our blessing from God, and I’m challenged to the core about serving as you serve. I can honestly say this about my friends who are single too.
Join us on the blog next week as Faye addresses singleness as “an unwanted gift” and discusses the importance of identity when talking about singleness or relationships.