It can be tough for people who are single. Anybody wanna say, “Amen”?
The typical church congregation and its ministries are generally built around married families with children. This structure is great until that doesn’t fit you.
Then, if a church does have a singles ministry, it can still be an awkward place of ministry. Where do singles fit in?
Through our studies of the Great Heroes of the Faith, one striking characteristic stuck out: Almost all of them were single!
Jeremiah was told by God that he could never marry.
Ezekiel was married, but when his wife died while in captivity, he wasn’t allowed to mourn for her. He found himself single again.
It isn’t explicitly recorded whether Daniel was married or not. Maybe since he was a high ranking advisor in the King’s court, he wasn’t allowed to marry. So, it’s a good chance he wasn’t married.
Looking at our 20th Century Heroes:
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was never married although he fell in love and was engaged shortly before being taken captive into prison.
Corrie ten Boom was never married.
Richard Wumbrand was the only Hero we’ve studied that was married through his persecution and the rest of his ministry.
In our current culture where most ministries focus on married and family life, it can get discouraging to figure out where single people belong. I can’t say that I understand this from my own experience, but I can imagine how frustrating it can be.
It’s a powerful statement, however, to look at how God used these amazing men and women who were single to accomplish such significant acts in history. One of the reasons He was able to use them so powerfully was because of their singleness.
Paul, who was single himself, described in 1 Corinthians how it is ultimately better to remain unmarried than to marry. When someone is single, they can focus their full attention on doing God’s work.
“He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord” 1Cor. 7:32
Paul really emphasized that it’s easier to stay focused on God’s work when you are single because your attention is divided when you are married.
Peter Scazzero described the difference between the ministry of marriage and the ministry of singleness like this:
“Married couples bear witness to the depth of Christ’s love. Their vows focus and limit them to loving one person exclusively, permanently, and intimately. Singles — vowed or dedicated — bear witness to the breadth of Christ’s love. Because they are not limited by a vow to one person, they have more freedom and time to express the love of Christ to a broad range of people. Both marrieds and singles point to and reveal Christ’s love, but in different ways. Both need to learn from one another about these different aspects of Christ’s love. This”
Being single is a valid and powerful way of expressing God’s Love through you to the world around you. God can use you in ways that He can’t with people who are married.
Whether you are single or single again, I pray you are encouraged by these Heroes of the Faith who were single and know that God has a unique calling for you as well.
If you want more encouragement about being single, check out these resources from Peter Scazzero here.