Singled Out for HimYesterday, I listed five of the commitments outlined by Nancy in Singled Out for Him: Embracing the gift, the blessings, and the challenges of singleness. Let's continue that conversation with the second half of those commitments.
6. I am committed to honoring my parents.
"Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you" (Deuteronomy 5:16).
I honor my parents when I express gratitude for the ways God has used them to bless and shape my life, rather than drawing attention to those areas where they were not all they could have been as parents. I honor them when I refuse to make them a prisoner of my expectations or to hold their failures against them. I honor them when I seek and value their counsel.... As a result of learning to honor my parents in a greater way, I have come to experience incredible blessing and freedom in many areas of my life, including my relationship with God and others.
7. I am committed to relating to families.
I have discovered that regular involvement with families is a safeguard against selfishness. And for those who will be married, there is hardly any better preparation for marriage and parenting. In a family setting, we can witness firsthand the blessings of obeying God's plan for the home and the consequences of disregarding it. Nothing will rid us of unrealistic notions of marriage and parenting faster than in-depth involvement in real homes!
8. I am committed to giving extravagantly rather than living extravagantly.
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich" ( 2 Corinthians 8:9).
If we want to have the heart of the Lord Jesus, we should always be looking for opportunities to give spontaneously and extravagantly. As singles, there are specific needs in the body of Christ that God may allow us to help meet:
- helping a family provide Christian education for their children.
- strengthening a marriage by sending a couple a gift certificate for a date night.
- providing funds for a family in ministry to have a weekend getaway.
- ministering to the needs of a widow on a limited income.
- supporting various ministries and missionaries, as well as the ministry of our own local churches.
- making available an extra bedroom in our home for those who need a place to stay.
Giving is the greatest expression of genuine love. Learn to give lavishly—with "no reserves." Learn to give every time God prompts your spirit with the need of another person. Give when you think you can afford it; give when you think you can't afford it!
9. I am committed to leaving a spiritual legacy for the next generation.
"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward" (Matthew 10:42).
How can we leave a legacy for the next generation if we have no children of our own?
We can do so by praying faithfully and fervently for the children and young people growing up in our extended families, our churches, and our communities.... We can also invest in the next generation by making sure that our lives model purity, humility, and wholehearted devotion to Jesus Christ. And we can take time to serve, love, encourage, and disciple those who are younger than ourselves.
10. I am committed to pursuing an intimate relationship with God above all else.
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33).
Intimacy with God is cultivated in many of the same ways that a close relationship is developed between a husband and wife or two friends. No relationship will thrive for long if it is not nurtured—if, for example, the two parties rarely speak to each other. Our relationship with the Lord will be deepened and strengthened through such habits as daily prayer and Bible reading, praise and worship, confession, fellowship with like-minded believers, and telling others what we admire in Him.
Later in this chapter, Nancy writes, "marriage is not a 'right.' And singleness is not an 'accident.' As we have seen, according to God's Word, both marriage and singleness are gifts from our gracious God who knows us, loves us, and gives only good gifts to His children" (Singled Out for Him, 61).
What will you do with the gift He's given you? Will you accept it as "good" or will you spend your effort wishing for different circumstances? Will you commit to living out His design and purpose for you now regardless of your circumstances? Will you trust Him with your future but serve Him with your whole heart today?