The Single Life

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I was lying in the bath this morning, thinking about the message that Jacob posted a few days ago. (I do a lot of thinking in the bath - all that hot water must increase the bloodflow to my brain!).

Let's take a quick look at the great movers and shakers of the church over the last two millenia.

First, Paul. He took the gospel to the gentiles, was the church's first major missionary and its first and greatest theologian. Paul was a Christian's Christian. Marital status: single.

Augustine: Augustine was the other great thinker of the early church. Most of our theology today is based on Augustine's groundwork. He was the first to articulate the ideas of the Trinity and to expand on Paul's writings on justification by faith. Marital status: single.

Martin Luther: Luther dragged a complacent church back to the bible, and centred it back on God. Marital status: single-ish. Luther was single for most of his ministry. He eventually married an ex-nun to help her leave a convent. In those days, the notion of women working was abhorrent, so the only way for a woman to be housed, fed, etc. was to be married, so Luther married her to give her her freedom. He did little of note after his marriage.

The Protestant reformers: Out of the quartet of John Wesley, Charles Wesley, George Whitfield and Jonathan Edwards, responsible for the great Protestant revivals of the end of the eighteenth century, only Charles Wesley was married.

John Stott: Probably the most influential evangelical Christian writer today. Marital status: single.

Jesus: God himself, who lived a human life to show as an example of how we can live, stayed single.

There are many, many others, but these were, I think, the best known and most influential folk of the whole of church history, and all but one were single for the length of their effective ministry.

I don't know why there seems to be this connection between singleness and Christian greatness. It might be that God feels that he needs to bless people in other ways if they're not blessed by marriage. God always sticks up for the underdog! Or it might be the more mundane reason that single people have more time on their hands, so can accomplish more.

For whichever reason, if God calls you to remain single, then rejoice! He might have greatness in store for you!