Summary: Did you know that there’s an entire chapter in the Bible that celebrates singleness and explodes multiple marital myths? Please turn to 1 Corinthians 7 to find Paul’s manifesto on marriage and his treatise on singleness.
Single and Satisfied
1 Corinthians 7:7-9, 25-35
Rev. Brian Bill
A first grade teacher gave her class the first part of a proverb and asked them to finish the second half. Here’s what they came up with…
• Better to be safe than…punch a 5th grader.
• It’s always darkest before…Daylight Saving Time.
• Don’t bite the hand that…looks dirty.
• A penny saved…is not much.
• Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and…you have to blow your nose.
• Children should be seen and not…spanked or grounded.
• A miss is as good as a…Mrs.
We’re going to see this morning that according to Scripture a “Miss” is just as good as a “Mrs.”
Speaking of children, I heard about a pastor who was visiting a fourth-grade Sunday School class to talk about marriage. As part of his teaching, he asked the class, “What does God say about marriage?” Immediately one boy shot up his hand and replied, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
While it’s certainly true that some people get married today and don’t know what they’re getting into…to those of you who are single, I want to ask you to forgive us as a church for making you feel second class or unimportant. Please forgive us for we know not what we are doing when we put pressure on you to get married, or make disparaging comments, or tease you, or just leave you out of things. That’s wrong. And we will stop.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s newest numbers show that married-couple households have slipped from nearly 80 percent in the 1950s to just 50 percent today. In an article entitled, “Bowling (and Living) Alone,” The Wall Street Journal reports that the nuclear family of two parents and their children is no longer the most common living arrangement. In its place at the number one spot are what are called “single-adult” households. According to census figures, the largest chunk of American households now consists of people who live alone.
I share the same struggles this morning that Pastor Rick McGinnis verbalized when he preached a sermon called, “Solid Singles” (www.northheartland.org). He mentioned that he had a certain amount of dread when he was preparing, not because the Bible doesn’t have anything to say on this topic, but because he wondered if any single person would want to listen to a married guy speak on singleness. He also didn’t think married people would want to hear about singleness, unless of course they were planning to join their ranks.
And then this pastor realized that the tension he was feeling is the same tension that exists in general between married couples and single people. Married folks often don’t know how to relate to singles and some singles feel like they’re on the wrong side of the wall and can’t connect with couples. One single person put it this way: “Being single would be easier if others would accept it as a valid lifestyle.” One of my goals today is to help tear down these walls so that we can accept one another.
McGinnis then lists four marital myths that need to be addressed.
• Myth #1: Marriage is the only God-ordained lifestyle. Some people think that God’s preference is always for people to get married. Some singles even believe this. Contrary to what the DaVinci Code purports, Jesus was not married and He sure lived a fulfilled life. As we will see this morning, singleness is Scriptural and has a lot of advantages. Matthew 19:12: “…Others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven…”
• Myth #2: The grass is greener on the other side of the matrimonial fence. Some singles think that if they were married everything would be better and some married couples wish they were single again. Many people try to bust through the fence no matter what the cost. Married people bail on their vows thinking their life will improve and some singles forget that no spouse is better than the wrong spouse. Friends, listen: If you get to the other side of the fence you will learn that life is good and bad no matter which side you are on. Don’t jump the fence only to discover that the grass looks about as green or brown as it did on the side you were on. One of the things we’ll learn from our text is this: Don’t be in a hurry to swap sides. 1 Corinthians 7:17: “Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him.” Paul takes this a step further in verses 27-28: “Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned…” Ray Stedman comments on this passage by saying that singles should stop the “frantic, almost frenzied search for marriage.” And I would add that married couples need to be content with their covenant of unconditional commitment to their imperfect spouses.