“But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another.” (1 Corinthians 7:7)
Last week I wrote about marriage and mentioned that marriage might not be for everyone. Sometimes, in the church setting, life seems to revolve too much around married couples and families. That’s a pity because the Bible affirms the place of single adults in the church and the role they play.
The world often seems conflicted about marriage and single life. Secular society sees marriage as an outdated and unnecessary institution but remains fixated on pairing up and telling stories of finding true love. Many adults, both in the church and outside, will never marry. Some are content with the situation and others long to find that partner. Paul says that it is better to remain single if you can, it’s a gift. He saw an opportunity for single individuals to serve the kingdom with their life. Married people also serve but in a different way. We need both in the church.
As church communities, we need to do a better job of making sure that unmarried people feel included in our fellowship. This means being intentional about inviting single adults into our homes and small groups. Checking to make sure they have support when going through times of crisis or challenge. Remembering birthdays and celebrating new jobs or promotions.
Great diversity exists among single members. One might be an unmarried man in his twenties or a woman in her fifties caring for aging parents. Some have never married, and others are divorced or widowed. The church is to be the family of God. Both married and unmarried people are in it. We must see everyone and ensure they feel included in this new family tied together in Jesus.
Whether married or single, we are stewards of the relationships that God gives us. We are to care about others more than ourselves. Let’s make sure our circle of care includes those who aren’t just like us.