Hey readers! Remember that time in the Bible when the Apostle Paul said that thing about being single? I (McCoy) do:
“But this I say by way of concession, not of command. 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. But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I.” 1 Corinthians 7:6-8
Last weekend at this wonderful establishment called Shari’s, one of the best dudes I know, Marky Pyatt, and I were chewing on this verse, as well as the lives of Paul, Jesus and those twelve dudes He hung around. It had started with that typical question:
Me: So, any girls out there you got your little eye on?
Mark: Actually, yeah.
Mark: Nah. You?
We’ve had this thrilling conversation many times in the two entire decades that I have known him, and it usually starts and ends in the same manner above. But the difference this time around was that Mark and I were actually quite warm to our present statuses. The freedom experienced through singleness is not lost on us.
The following conversation is by no means verbatim, but it captures the general theme of what we talked about.
Mark: Ya know, wasn’t Jesus single?
Me: I heard that. Dan Brown would argue otherwise…but go on.
Mark: …wasn’t Paul single too?
Me: Apparently so, at least when he wrote to the Corinthians. And if he was married, I bet she was super pissed about his travel schedule…and the fact he didn’t acknowledge her existence in this letter.
Mark: Well we’ve been talking a ton in our dude’s group about being more and more like Jesus, which is something we’ve all agreed we passionately want in our lives…
Mark continues and I’m desperately searching for a scripture to take out of context right now to stop that train of thought in its tracks.
Mark: …and don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of finding someone to do life with, to love, to have kids with someday but Jesus didn’t really seem to have that in His priorities when He gave the Great Commission. No, He said to go and make disciples.
Me: And he didn’t really mention making sure to get married first, to have a helpmate, a partner, or whatever, who is going to make your assignment of making disciples easier.
Mark: No. I think they just went out.
Me: Well dude I’m tracking along with you here. I don’t think either one of us is saying we should sign our lives away on the dotted line of chastity and singlehood this moment, but that if Paul says it is a good gift then I don’t want to invalidate that gift too quickly.
Mark: And I don’t want to feel entitled to something that was never promised to me. Let’s say we knew we were going to be single for the rest of our lives, and God told us this in a Christmas wreath that was burning but not being consumed, then wouldn’t we be more adventurous with our faith, take more risks and through it all be more focused and committed to the Lord? After all, the disciples and the apostles were pretty productive bachelors.
Me: Mother Theresa took some risks and was quite the little bachelorette as well. It’s almost like there is a huge conflict of interest when on one hand you’re married, but on the other you are fully devoted to the Lord. I think you can probably do both, or at least I’ve been told, but aren’t we in an advantageous position RIGHT NOW?
Me: Maybe we have the “gift” of singleness. I mean we’re still chugging along as singles doing life, and I think we’re getting pretty good at it. Besides, if you don’t have the “gift” of singleness does that mean by default you have the “gift” of togetherness or marriage?
Mark: Maybe not…I’ve seen a lot of bad marriages.
Me: Ditto…sounds like a conversation for another day