How did you react when you read the title to this article? Did it frustrate you, or did it pique your interest? Are there really blessings that come with being single, or is the author just trying to sugarcoat a very challenging season of life?
Being single is a unique time of life when a person is no longer a child, is an independent adult, and has a tremendous amount of control over his or her future. Some singles are at a place in life where they have flexibility with their income, may have excess free time and fewer demands on their time, and can make many decisions quickly without consulting others. They may also have more youthful vigor and ambition. For those who are single later in life, they may find "youthful vigor" a little elusive, but most of these same characteristics may still apply.
The reality is that singlehood is a unique season in life that may bring with it certain challenges and difficulties. But, when viewed from a godly perspective, this season of life can also bring with it many blessings and opportunities. This article will highlight and discuss several blessings and opportunities often found in the season of singleness, and the opportunity many singles have to capitalize on these blessings as they work to "redeem" this important time (Ephesians 5:15–16) and use it for maximum benefit of themselves and others.
First, it is essential to remember that marriage is not the finish line—God's Kingdom is! God placed us on earth and called us to help preach the Gospel to the world and to grow in godly character. Regardless of our stage in life, God has these two important expectations for all of us.
James, the Lord's brother, poignantly observed that life is "a vapor" (James 4:14). It is fleeting and so is opportunity. Therefore, we need to be sure we are using well the time on earth with which God has blessed us! During his own season of singleness, the Apostle Paul also observed that we can learn to "be content" in whatever state we find ourselves (Philippians 4:11)—and Paul, no doubt, had most of the same struggles today's singles have. That doesn't mean "settling" for our current state, necessarily, but we should clearly recognize our blessings, be thankful for every day we are given, and be at peace with our lives (Colossians 3:15) while we seek to grow and overcome (2 Peter 3:18)!
It is encouraging to recall that many of the heroes and heroines of the Bible were single during the times in their lives when they were most useful to God! Remember Jeremiah (for a time), Daniel and his three friends, Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, the Apostle Paul, Philip's four virgin daughters who prophesied, Timothy (for a time) and others. In fact, Paul focused a portion of his comments in 1 Corinthians 7:25–40 on the benefits of being single! Even Christ recognized that being single gives a person greater capacity to serve (Matthew 19:12). Those who learn to be content and apply themselves during their time as a single can be powerful tools in God's hand!
So, what are some of the blessings available to those living in the season of singleness?
The Ability to Experience Abundant Life in a Godly Way
As mentioned earlier, some singles have more flexibility with their time and financial resources than many of those who are married and have children. Those resources can provide opportunities for travel, for education, and for other special experiences that may not be feasible within the time and financial constraints that marriage and family bring.
Many working singles have relatively more Festival tithe than those who are married with families. Because of this, singles may be able to travel and experience Feast sites in more expensive locations. Singles may even consider traveling to a distant Feast site that normally receives very few visitors, perhaps in a developing nation. In doing this, singles can serve their distant brethren in a very special way. Singles can also use their excess second tithe to take brethren out for meals during the Feast—brethren who may not be able to afford to do this on their own. In some cases, loving singles have helped others with limited resources who may not have been able to attend the Feast at all, by donating their excess second tithe for use in the Festival assistance fund.
Many singles visit other Church congregations for family or singles' weekends or even when there is no special occasion, just to broaden their own perspectives, meet new people and see different places. Extra financial resources also make possible the ability to try out new restaurants and new types of food, experience different adventures, and even assist others in doing the same. The season of singleness is also a time when a man or woman may be in the best position to save extra money for the future. Extra time and money is a blessing that many singles experience, should be thankful for, and should take advantage of while the opportunity exists. There are many memorable and unique opportunities that come during the season of singleness that may only be available during this special season in life.
Time to Study and Grow
In 1 Corinthians 7:35, Paul observed that single brethren have the ability to "serve the Lord without distraction." Many younger singles work at a job, but at the end of the work day, and often on weekends, they possess the time to focus on deeper Bible study and spiritual growth. They are not drawn in multiple directions by the needs of a mate, children, and in-laws (all of which can also be blessings). Singles who manage their time well and are mindful concerning potentially wasteful distractions have the ability to focus powerfully on spiritual growth. They have more time to get to know their Bibles, study Church literature and utilize many other educational materials from the Church. They have more time to pray and more opportunity to fast. Paul also observed, regarding singles in the Church, "He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord" (1 Corinthians 7:32).
Additionally, singles often have more time available to grow in other areas of their lives and to prepare for their future—even their future as husband and father or wife and mother. What can be learned and studied and whose counsel can be sought in order to prepare well for these future roles? What can a single man do to lay the foundation for a future career? Many young singles long for marriage and may pursue this state before doing the spiritual, intellectual and financial groundwork that will help to foster a happy and peace-filled marriage. Young singles should use this time in their lives to gain their education or training for their future life. A younger single man should do all he can, while in this season of life, to prepare to be a truly godly husband and father who is well equipped to take care of his wife and children. A younger single woman should do all she can during this season of life to prepare to be a truly godly wife and mother who is prepared and equipped to serve her husband and children (Proverbs 24:27). For those who are currently single, the question is: How well are you using your time and energy to serve God and to grow and overcome spiritually? And how well are you using it to prepare for your future?
The Ability to Serve
Many singles in God's Church have more time, energy and flexibility than those who are married and have families. As Paul noted, "But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife" (1 Corinthians 7:33). Paul's comments in no way disparage the marriage state. The truth is that married brethren have different and additional obligations before God and as a result a diminished capacity to serve God's people and His Work in other ways. Singles who work during the day often have time in the evening or on the weekends to serve others. Whether making phone calls or sending cards to shut-ins, aiding a widow in cleaning her home or yard, babysitting for a young couple who need some private time together, spending extra time serving in a local Church congregation, taking another single on a fun date, or just sitting with and encouraging someone—singles are usually in a unique position to give more of their time to others, regardless of their age.
Compared to those who are married or rearing children, some singles have more flexibility with their time to drop everything and lend their assistance when they see a person in need. Maybe this is helping someone move from one home to another, or maybe this is serving in the local congregation when an unexpected need arises. Single men are in a position to serve at church dances in a special way. They can dance with all those single ladies who may be sitting on the sidelines at a dance, waiting to be asked. Single men can also look around the congregation for single women who may be sitting alone or with each other during Sabbath services. Ask a lady or two to sit with you during services, and mix up who you sit with each week. Singles can serve others in many ways that are simply not as feasible for those who are married with children.
How well are you using your time to serve others? Are you lonely and in need of more attention from and interaction with others? Do you feel like you are by yourself much of the time? Perhaps it is time to ask yourself how you might use some of this time to serve others. For those who are doing this, be sure to keep up the good work! God desires for us to spend time fellowshipping together (Hebrews 10:24–25). He really does want us to use our time to serve each other in love (Galatians 5:13), and singles are usually uniquely positioned to do this!
The Bible clearly teaches that men and women were not generally designed to be alone (Genesis 2:18). God intentionally designed us male and female in order to build marriages and families and to learn from and grow through these institutions. Most singles should plan for and take action to move toward marriage—and it is never too late to do this. However, the season of singleness should not be viewed resentfully or with contempt—to be endured until marriage finally occurs. Christ certainly did not look at it that way, and as we work to put on more of His mind (Philippians 2:5) we should not look at it that way either.
God's Church needs single members and married members alike. Each brings blessings and benefits to the body of Christ! Every season in life can be a blessing in its own way and can be used of God to serve specific purposes. The season of singleness can bring certain challenges, but it is also full of blessings and opportunities if we seek and take advantage of them. Being thankful for and redeeming the time as a single is not only wise and fulfilling, but it is also pleasing to the God who designed this special time in life. In addition to Paul's words concerning being content, God also reminds us through Moses, "So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the Lord your God has given to you" (Deuteronomy 26:11). To those in the season of singleness: Make the most of it, because just like the summer or winter, it will pass and another season will begin.