“How many sermons have you heard in your lifetime about singleness?” I asked this question on two surveys I conducted of several hundred married and single students and alumni of my college. The majority of the respondents had grown up in the church, and most of them had sat in hundreds of chapel services targeted at young people. The vast majority of the respondents reported that they had heard fewer than three sermons on singleness in their lifetime.
At that time, I personally could only identify one sermon that addressed what the Bible had to say about singleness. Dozens on dating, sure! And hundreds on marriage. (One church I attended spent 18 months going through a series of marriage. 18 months!) But now, after almost 50 years in the church, 25 years in youth and college ministry, and 1400+ chapel messages at college, I have heard 5 such sermons–and two of them in the last month.
My church is working through 1 Corinthians this year, and I have been waiting for 1 Corinthians 7! Last week, the first message came. It was encouraging! You can watch or listen to it here.
Celibate singleness is honorable, useful, and possible through God’s grace for celibacy or God’s gift of celibacy.David Hegg
Post-sermon, I met with my small group of 20-somethings young women, all single for a fireside chat. “What questions do you have for the pastor?” I asked them. Almost three hours passed as we discussed some of the realities of living life single in the church–for the glory of God! I have passed their questions (and profuse thanks) on to Pastor David, but with the group’s encouragement, I will take some time to write about our discussion further here on the blog in the days ahead.
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to[c] his own glory and excellence,[d]4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,[e] and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities[f] are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ2 Peter 1:3-8
Here’s to fruitful effectiveness whatever our marital status!