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The Gift of Singleness: Why and How

Jonathan has been writing since 1995 about various topics, from movie reviews, works of fiction and media commentaries to Bible sermons.


What circumstances in your life do you have to be thankful for? Maybe it's your friends or family. Maybe you have a job that allows you to make time for more important things. Maybe you're single. Whether or not they want to get married in the future, many Christians still view their singleness as a gift. Let's look at two aspects: why and how.

We'll start by turning to Matthew chapter 19. In conversation, someone said they thought it wasn't a good idea to get married, and in verse 11, Jesus replied. "He said to them: “Not all men make room for the saying, but only those who have the gift."

Now first, the why. In this case, it wasn't a good why. In verses 4-9, Jesus had just finished reaffirming God's original standard of marriage and divorce. And how did some of his own disciples react? Verse 10, "The disciples said to him: “If that is the situation of a man with his wife, it is not advisable to marry." In other words, 'if I can't have the option to have a way out on flimsy grounds, I might as well not get married'. Isn't that a terrible attitude. Other bad reasons for staying single could be a desire to play the field, or wanting to have a self-centered life style in general. But this isn't what Jesus was talking about. Notice verse 12, "For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs on account of the Kingdom of the heavens." That's the good reason, for God's Kingdom.

Now moving on to the how. In verse 11, Jesus mentioned "those who have the gift." That might lead some to think that it's a miraculous gift, foreordained or something like that. But that doesn't match up with what the Bible says elsewhere, even back in that same verse, Jesus said, "Not all men make room". That implies action, a choice. Just to be sure let's turn to 1 Corinthians 7:37. That says, "But if anyone stands settled in his heart and has no necessity, but has authority over his own will and has made the decision in his own heart to remain unmarried, he will do well." It doesn't get plainer than that.

So how can it be said to be a gift? The answer has to do with holy spirit. 2 Corinthians 4 says that God gives us "power beyond what is normal". We make the choices. We make the leaps of faith. But God enhances our efforts. 1 Corinthians 12, starting in verse 4. "Now there are different gifts, but there is the same spirit; and there are different ministries, and yet there is the same Lord; and there are different activities, and yet it is the same God who performs them all in everyone."

To sum it up, there are so many things we can do and choices we can make to help others. So if you make a life decision, such as singleness, to facilitate that, and it's in harmony with God's will, then you can be sure that God will give you the gift of helping you carry out your goals.

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