Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.1 Peter 4:10
Not too long ago I wrote about The Gift of Singleness. If singleness is a gift from God, given to us by his grace, then are we not to use our singleness to serve others? But what does it really look like to steward singleness as a God given gift?
Our culture and perhaps many of us would say that singleness is a time of freedom. We still have work, ministry, school, and other responsibilities that vie for our time, but we don’t have to worry about taking care of children or being present for a spouse. This frees up space in every aspect of our lives in a way that is distinct from life after marriage and children. We are often encouraged to take advantage of this time by pursuing further education, traveling to new places, learning new things or picking up useful hobbies. All of which can be good things and may well serve our future family and ministry in ways we may not even see just yet. But if we aren’t intentional about serving others this focus on making the most of our freedom, rather than propelling us towards maturity can sometimes lead to a less positive result: unbridled selfishness.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.Galatians 5:13
Without the proper focus and discipline, singleness, rather than a time of developing skills and talents for the purpose of serving others can be a time when we grow accustomed to simply living for ourselves. For example, our money is ours to spend how we please. We need not worry about providing for someone else or making sure they approve of our latest purchase. But will we use this freedom to tithe and give generously? Or develop the habit of indulging in things we want while neglecting to care for those in need around us? Our time is also ours. Will we choose to spend it doing the things we want or offering it to others? Even our skills and education can serve our own means and purposes: be it ambition for money, recognition, or growing a following on a social media platform. The reality is, being single and focused on yourself is accepted and even encouraged by the ever more individualistic society our world is rapidly creating. And yet, as it so often does, God’s word calls us to something far greater than serving ourselves: serving others.
Maybe it’s okay to take that trip, sign up for that course, or invest in that hobby you’ve always dreamed of trying. But will you also give sacrificially to those in need? Use your gifts to bless someone else? Put aside the chance at payment or recognition to esteem another better than yourself? By God’s grace singleness doesn’t have to be a time when we fall into the comfort of living selfishly, it can become a great time of growth and in cultivating selflessness in our heart and our actions.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.Philippians 4:2
How have you been serving others recently? During these difficult times have you found ways to use the gift of your singleness to bless someone in a different stage of life? What talents or interests do you have that you enjoy using to serve others? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!