Sunday, July 3, 2016

Singleness at a glance: Understanding the life of the single Christian. The Simple Truth

“Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:26-27 KJV

It just hit me. I am 41 years young and still single. Jesus take the wheel! Heaven have mercy! With that being said, I must confess something: I personally do not believe that the average church knows how to deal with single Christians within their church walls. (Yes, I am ducking over here because I am certain that someone is going to throw a stone at me.) So let me explain. I have been blessed to have visited several different church denominations in my years. For many churches programs dominate the church body. But this does not describe every church, only a few. There are programs for everything that your heart can imagine. These programs consist of ministries for those who like to cook, those who are gifted in hospitality, song leader, youth groups, so on and so forth. However, for some churches it is difficult to know just where to start to develop a singles gathering. Did you notice that I intentionally did not refer to it as a “singles ministry”? Interesting! I’ll come back to this point later in this blog post.

Prior to my grandmother’s death in 2013, she used to always ask me certain questions. When are you going to have children? When are you going to get married? I would often roll my eyes in the back of my head or laugh under my breath. She caught it every time. I never could fully communicate to my beloved grandmother that there are some things that are out of my control….and these are the things that are out of my control. In essence, I have been purposeful about doing other things. For example, I purposefully did not want to have children outside of a marriage. I purposefully chose to obtain two master’s degrees. I purposefully chose to move back to Tennessee. But I did not choose to be single. I believe that being in this state of singleness is by God’s design, definitely not my own. If it would have been left up to me, I would have been married for twenty years now with six children. But God had a different path and plan. So I praise Him for His plan.

“Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3 KJV

In my many years of being single I have heard the cry of many single Christians as it relates to singleness. I want to share some of these heart-pressing issues here. So here goes:

1.       Single Christians desire love and affection just like anyone else. Can we all agree with this statement?

2.       It is often difficult to hear someone say “Just wait on the Lord” in referring to waiting on God to send him or her a mate. (Let me pause for a moment and insert some humor here: Often times when I hear this comment, I can guarantee you that it is coming from a woman who has been married to her husband for at least 150 years. It is easy for someone who either just got married or have been married for 75 ½ years to make this statement. Have you considered that for many singles, they do not want your pity but your prayers? I am not saying that this statement should not be made. I believe that in many instances, this statement is needed. However, let us strive to connect with singles on a deeper level.)

3.       Not everyone who is single is battling with loneliness. Can we all agree with this statement?

4.       The gathering of singles (notice again that I am not referring to it as a “singles ministry”) is not a place for you to play Matchmaker. It should be, however, a place of like-minded Christians to gather and celebrate one another in the spirit of Christ.

5.       We understand that whoever we marry, for those who desire to marry, he or she will not be perfect. (And for those who are single and expecting to marry a perfect spouse, please remain single. There is no such thing as a perfect spouse. I am sorry to break this news to you.)

6.       It is okay for the married folks to find unique ways for us as single Christians to meet. There is nothing wrong with this at all and is very much encouraged.

7.       Lastly, just because we desire to marry does not mean that we are sexually burning or our loins are on fire. That may be the case for some, but not all. Let’s be honest, even Paul stated that not everyone is meant to be single. So please do not assume. Some of us want to be married so that we can share our lives with others. It is just that simple.

Here is the Simple Truth:

As you noticed I strictly stayed away from calling the gathering of singles a “singles ministry”. Let me explain why. It is everyone’s responsibility to minister to singles, thus we are a singles’ ministry within the Body of Christ. We are all called to share love, fellowship, and enjoy those around us who are single. That is the true essence of a singles’ ministry. And we all have it. We all can make time to get to know our single friends who labor among us. This is what a singles ministry is about: reaching in, reaching out, and reaching throughout the Body of Christ to share His love to others.

Let us pray:

Our Heavenly Father, thank You for this life that You have given to us. Thank You that we are single for a purpose. In Your timing, You will bring those Christians around us so that we can fellowship and provide a greater fulfillment in their lives. Thank You for this. Thank You for every opportunity You give to us to reach out to others as part of our own singles ministry. Thank You, Heavenly Father, for ordaining this very moment. It is always my prayer that this blog touches someone’s life to the glory of Christ. May You fill us with more of You so that we can continue to share Jesus Christ with others. We love You, Father God and we seek to be more like You every day. Forgive us of our sins and grow us in Your Word and in Christ. We pray this in Jesus Name. Amen.

Reference Scriptures:

Genesis 2:18; Psalm 37:4; Jeremiah 29:11; Luke 1:37; Luke 1:45