Sometimes Christians who are young adults walk away from the Lord because of their desire to be married and their inability to find a Christian spouse. As parents, we need to cast a vision for the blessing of singleness.
In Judges 11, we read the story of Jepthah and his daughter. Jepthah rashly promises to dedicate something to the Lord if the Lord will give him victory. That first item out of his house is his daughter. He does keep his vow to sacrifice her. However, there are two possible understandings of this passage. In a region known for human sacrifice, perhaps Jephthah did indeed sacrifice her on an altar. Another interpretation holds that she was to be dedicated to the Lord and the temple and never to be married.
At the prospect of singleness, she and her companions spent two months in mourning. Why? The Old Testament followers of God viewed singleness as a curse from God. Many Christians today, agree with this outlook. Singleness is viewed by many as a cause for mourning and depression. While couples go off hand in hand, singles feel forced to be alone.
But Jesus’ redemption includes the redemption of singleness. Jesus himself was single. And he commended singleness to the disciples.
Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” Matthew 19:11-12
Some do not marry because of God’s doings, others because of man’s doing, and some do not marry because they have renounced marriage for the kingdom of God. Renounced marriage for the kingdom of God??? How can singleness help the kingdom of God?
Paul, who was also single, penned these words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. 1 Cor 7:7-8
And later he tells why:
I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs-how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world-how he can please his wife- and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world-how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord. 1 Cor 7:32-35
Thus, Paul and Jesus commend to us the advantages of singleness. You who are single do not have divided interests. Your devotion can be wholehearted. Your time can be wholly devoted to the Lord. For married couples, hours and hours will be spent on maintaining or improving the relationship. A single person is free from this work.
All of us will experience singleness. We will be single before we are married. Perhaps we will outlive our spouse. Or perhaps we will never be married. Don’t spend that time like Jepthah’s daughter, mourning what you have lost. Let the encouragement of Jesus and Paul drive you on to make maximum use of that time.