Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything, but God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
1 Corinthians 7:32-40 (NRSV)
I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin are anxious about the affairs of the Lord, so that they may be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to put any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and unhindered devotion to the Lord.
If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his fiancée, if his passions are strong, and so it has to be, let him marry as he wishes; it is no sin. Let them marry. But if someone stands firm in his resolve, being under no necessity but having his own desire under control, and has determined in his own mind to keep her as his fiancée, he will do well. So then, he who marries his fiancée does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better.
A wife is bound as long as her husband lives. But if the husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, only in the Lord. But in my judgment she is more blessed if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.
It does not matter if you are the Pope or someone who has hardly stepped foot in a church, we all are given just 168 hours a week. I see Paul’s thoughts here as an encouragement to single people on time management when it comes to their ministry. Whether we are ordained ministers or not, we all have a ministry to do and are given gifts to perform this ministry. I have lived as a Christian both as a single person and a married person and I get what Paul is warning about. When we are bound in marriage, we should rightfully be concerned over the needs of our spouse and family and that can take away from our ability to perform our own calls to ministry.
As a single person, it can be much easier to volunteer and to find the time to delve into growing in faith, if it is a priority for us. Paul, a single person, certainly suggested this way of life as he knew firsthand how having flexibility in time helped him respond to his unique calls.
Despite his clear leaning toward the single life, Paul also admits that married people are not precluded from serving the Lord. He does suggest the importance of finding a partner who is a follower of the Lord. Perhaps such commonality is important to remaining effective in ministry even when married. To be effective in answering our calls to ministry, we should pick mates carefully and be sure they share similar values. Love is transformative, and when we are fully known and truly loved by another such as a spouse, it is a lot like being loved by God. Such love can draw out the best in us and make us more Christ-like. The same can be said of all earthly relationships, and is not unique to marriage. Single or not, let us commit to such transformative love and making the answering of our own calls to ministry a priority.
Lord, help us to make the time today to do what you need us to do, to be intentional about being close to you, and to look for you in others and ourselves. Help us to discover you in new ways today. Amen.
Go with God.