First Corinthians: Chapter 7, The Gift

January 18, 2008

You know the gift I am talking about:

1Co 7:6 But this I say by way of concession, not of command.
1Co 7:7 Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.
1Co 7:8 But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I.
1Co 7:9 But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

Jesus also spoke about this gift:

Mat 19:10 The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.”
Mat 19:11 But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given.
Mat 19:12 “For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”

In my 32 years as a Christian, I cannot remember a lesson encouraging singles to consider whether they might have “the gift.” The focus of every singles ministry I have witnessed has been to encourage people to get married. And honestly that seems to be the hope of virtually all of the singles I have known. A great many Christian singles are not single by choice. For many, it would be in their best interest spiritually to get married. As Paul said, it is better to marry than to be inflamed with passion. Both Paul and Jesus taught that not everyone is gifted to remain single.

But there are some who could make the decision to remain single, to devote their attention to serving the Lord.

1Co 7:32 But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;
1Co 7:33 but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,
1Co 7:34 and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
1Co 7:35 This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.

Our churches need to make room for people who have “the gift.” Those who have the self control to serve God with purity as a single should be respected for that. In our culture, there is a stigma associated with remaining single. There should be no such stigma in the church. Both Jesus and Paul clearly taught that, for those who have the gift, remaining single in order to serve God is an honorable path.

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