Yesterday morning while reading through John 12 with a shut-in she asked: “how many children do you have?” After learning I wasn’t married at the age of forty-one (soon to be forty-two) she gave me a look of surprise.
I don’t blame her…people usually give me that look as a single man in his forties
That look used to remind me I’m not like other Missionaries
Today it reminds me being single is God’s blessing
Of course missionaries and pastors SHOULD be married. I personally pray daily that God would bring me a wife if it is His will, and understand ministry as well as life is done better with a help-meet. At the same time, God keeps me single for a reason, and I see how this season of singleness holds incredible blessings for my life.
The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians seven encourages young men to embrace their singleness as times they can please (obey) only the Lord.
1Cor. 7:32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: 33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.
In other words being single allows you to accomplish more for the cause of Christ:
- A quiet environment without interruptions (apart from Beethoven on my laptop and a barking dog) allows me to get a lot done in a short time
- This creates lots of free-time (I can hear all the mothers groaning from here) that can be used for evangelism and discipleship
- Being single gives amazing freedom…I came to SVG as a missionary 10 days after being asked about it and could have done it in two.
- And emphasizes community instead of isolation
Again let me say it is BETTER to be married (and I do long for marriage), but we must stop looking upon singleness as a temporary time that must be hurried through in order to get married.
More than the efficiency my single life helps me find my fulfillment in Christ instead of relationships. As Sam Allberry (a Christian who struggles with homosexual temptations but has chosen abstinence) says, Marriage shows us the shape of the gospel. Singleness shows us the sufficiency of the gospel. —Sam Allberry
If God in His sovereignty calls me to die a single man I am at peace with that…because He has used my singleness for His Glory.