Is it wrong to choose to be single for life? Do we have such a thing as Christian “nuns?”
It is unfortunate that there are some major religious movements who teach single and serving God as a dogma. The call for singlehood in serving the Lord should never be dogmatic. It is as if you cannot serve the Lord when you get married. This teaching becomes problematic if it borders on legalism. There is nothing wrong if a man or a woman is called into a lifetime of singlehood. It is unfortunate that our world today tend to discriminate a number of people who chose to become single just because they decide not to marry.
I understand that majority of the individuals around the world are married and they have the desire to marry someday. But this is not true for a number of people. I only hope that the reason for not getting married should not come mainly from the following reasons below:
- I have fear in getting married.
- I want to take care of my parents that nobody can do it.
- I do not want to have children.
- I have an unfortunate past relationship experience.
- I am not worthy to be a husband and a father or a wife and a mother.
- I do not want to have commitments and responsibility.
- I am afraid to experience what my parents have gone through.
- I am fearful of getting pregnant.
- I do not have enough money to get married.
A few of the reasons above are immature but a number of them may be reasonable. However, these basis should not be the main reason. I hope the primary motive for being single is the Lord has called you towards this path. And you want to devote fully to His work in proclaiming the gospel in whatever you are doing in your God-ordained career and profession.
In fact, there is nothing wrong if a single man or woman would like to devote herself fully to the Lord’s work because this will make her fully focus. The apostle Paul wrote about this in his letter to the Corinthian believers saying,
I would like you to be free from worry. An unmarried man concerns himself with the Lord’s work, because he is trying to please the Lord. But a married man concerns himself with worldly matters, because he wants to please his wife; and so he is pulled in two directions. An unmarried woman or a virgin concerns herself with the Lord’s work, because she wants to be dedicated both in body and spirit; but a married woman concerns herself with worldly matters, because she wants to please her husband. I am saying this because I want to help you. I am not trying to put restrictions on you. Instead, I want you to do what is right and proper, and to give yourselves completely to the Lord’s service without any reservation.
1 Corinthians 7:32-35
St. Paul said it right. He is not trying to put restrictions on people. If they are called for marriage then they are free to serve the Lord as a married couple. As a single person, of course, you can do more with your time.
I remember, when me and my wife were both single and professional in our church, we were so involved in serving the Lord in our own ministries. There are some who thought that if we get married then things will change. However, we are still as involved in the Lord’s work as before even as a married couple. Again, some people thought if we already have children we will have difficulty in ministry involvement because of different priorities. But the heart to serve the Lord was there even if we have children that we manage our time wisely so we could be part of whatever activities and ministries in the church.
In other words, if you really love to serve the Lord then you will find the time to serve Him whether married or single without seeing your family or work as a hindrance.
I am reminded of Mother Basilea Schlink of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary. She was the counterpart of Mother Teresa of the Roman Catholic Church in the Christian world. She devoted her life in serving the Lord in singlehood. She states,
“Do not lose yourself in your everyday work and activities. Rather, lose yourself in God. When you are doing work, let your innermost heart be centered on Him. Live in His presence and abide in Him.”
Mother Basilea Schlink
If you are still single but has the desire to get married then pray that you will be missional in your marriage. But if you are called towards celibacy then be missional in your singlehood.