The church is so multifaceted, filled with people of different ages, genders, and ethnicities. And whilst we are commissioned to go forth and share the good news of the gospel, we are all called to live in community with fellow believers, sharpening and building one another. Would you say you are making the most of your community in light of your status? Whether we’re single, married or even widowed God can still use us as we are, to serve our community. Whatever status we fall under, we can still use our God-given privileges and gifts to advance the kingdom and support members of our community.
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of anotherRomans 12:4-5
As a single person, you are uniquely placed. You can have single-minded devotion to God, like Paul you can dedicate every moment of your day to the Lord’s work such as evangelism, teaching and missionary trips. If you wanted to be in the Lord’s house all day every day you could! (Psalm 69:9). Another important point is that you have autonomy, you can use your time and resources however you see fit without having to consult with another person. Now in this season, do you see it as a never-ending waiting season before the next stage i.e., relationship/marriage? Or do you view it as a time to serve your community for example offering to babysit for a couple in your church, supporting the youth team or tutoring kids from church? Is your single status purely about yourself or are you opening yourself to be used to service the needs of others around you?
Can I still serve effectively if I’m not single?
As a married person you may find that life has gone from 0 to 100 in terms of demand on your time. Your time and resources are no longer yours alone, you now have to consider another person or people when making decisions. As a wise husband, father, wife or mother you will have to manage your time between God, church, family and work. Yet God’s grace is still sufficient for you too! As a married couple daily you are representing Christ and the Church in terms of sacrificial love and agape love (Ephesians 5:22-33) but also discipling your children in the way of the Lord to serve in His Kingdom (Proverbs 22:6). Not only this, as a couple you still have a God-given purpose and God-given gifts that can still be utilised whether that is counselling younger couples, leading a bible study group, or individually serving within a team in church. Whilst married people may have less capacity than single people, they can still be purposeful individuals whilst in their marriage like Priscilla and Aquilla (Acts 18), Peter (Matthew 8), Deborah (Judges 4 and 5) and Abigail (1 Samuel 25).
Another group that can be overlooked are married people who become widowed, which is a painful and life changing situation. Widows are a vulnerable community in the church who often need financial and emotional support, love, and community. They are encouraged to remain devoted to God and His Word (2 Timothy 5:5) and remarry and rebuild their lives again (2 Timothy 5:14). These are a group of people who need life spoken into them and their situation, to be encouraged to hope in God and find solace in Him through the church community.
Yet they too can pour back into the church community once they have healed from their loss. In the book of Ruth, Naomi had lost her husband AND sons yet she still managed to play a critical role in Ruth’s engagement to Boaz through her motherly wisdom.
Is age ever a factor?
The over 50’s
In today’s modern and fast paced world, the older generation can often be overlooked and their views can be seen as primitive yet the Bible does mention that there’s wisdom that can come from lived experience. Older men and women are encouraged to teach what is good and aligned with the Word of God to the younger men and women (Titus 2:2-8). This points to the role of mentorship, having an older couple, older man or woman who can spiritually walk with you, challenge you and hold you accountable.
In summary whatever status you fall under today, we all have our part to play in the body of Christ, an opportunity to serve our community, make our mark and usher in the Kingdom of heaven. God only asks that we present ourselves as willing and obedient vessels for Him to use for His glory.