In our world today, the search for identity and meaning can be an arduous task for any adult. Many singles experience the intense pressure to be in a relationship and these feelings can create mind-boggling issues as they seek to follow God’s will for their lives.
Despite these tensions, the fact is that the desire to please God is no less real in the heart of the single adult than it is in anyone else in the church.
Many people who are unmarried have a tremendous amount to offer, and their role must be embraced and welcomed by the community of faith.
Being single, either by personal choice or by the circumstances of life, should never preclude the idea of ministry, no matter how intense the societal pressures or even the blindness of the church to that reality.
There are numerous examples of singles in the Bible who were used by God to accomplish His purpose.
For example, Paul traveled without a wife, preaching and teaching wherever he went. His ministry produced numerous churches and spread the gospel to the waiting hearts of the Gentiles.
John the Baptist was single and had a vital ministry laying the groundwork for the coming of the Messiah.
Ezekiel was a widower, whom God used as a prophet to speak to His people. And while these men certainly faced challenges in their lives, they were able to be used by God while still being unmarried.
In fact, the Apostle Paul alludes to the idea of being single as a “gift” (I Cor. 7:7), and in the following verse, encourages many in the church to embrace their singlehood.
He writes, “to the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am“ (I Cor. 7:8). Paul continues these thoughts, “let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches” (I Cor. 7:17).
The best scriptural example for the idea of singleness and ministry is from the life of Jesus.
The Savior never married, but instead remained single so that He could focus on the work His Father had given to him. His days were hectic to be sure, ministering to the poor and needy, teaching the masses, and performing miracles.
One might say that He really did not have the time to be in a relationship. While He must have had many admirers, and no doubt could have taken a bride had He wished to, He deliberately chose to remain single.
He would not allow anyone to sway him from the mission at hand, giving His life as a ransom for the world.
For those who are single, the evidence of scripture is clear. God can and does use the unmarried to fulfill His plan and purpose. Rest assured, there is no sin in being unmarried. For singles who find themselves in this circumstance today, keep looking for opportunities to contribute to the ministry of the church.
The kingdom of God is much stronger when every believer allows the Spirit of God to work through them. God is certainly big enough to find a purpose for every willing heart and soul, married or not.