Called Condition (1 Corinthians 7:24)

Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that [condition] in which he was called.

1 Corinthians 7:24

Every believer was someplace when God called to them and they responded. Some were married while others single. Some were, when Paul wrote this, slaves while others freedmen. Some were Roman citizens while others were only subjects of the empire. Paul writes that the believer should remain in that condition wherein he was called.

There is good reason for this. If God called a slave to repentance, then that slave has access to all the other slaves in that household. And in wealthy Roman households, that could mean quite a few people. Single people were free to serve God in any way that God might call them; could just up and go on a missionary journey. Citizens had rights that subjects did not and those rights afforded them protections that allowed them to speak the gospel more boldly than mere subjects of the empire might — a possible explanation why Peter is not all that bold about preaching outside Jerusalem (not a citizen) and Paul goes every place God sent him (Paul was a citizen). Paul could appeal to Caesar for justice and bear witness of Christ to everyone in the Roman administrative, bureaucratic, and justice system with whom he came in contact.

In a more modern context, we are called while in the middle of a part of our lives. We might be single and working a particular job. There is no reason, unless we have a definite instruction from God, that we should quit our job to do missions work or that we should automatically go on a search for a spouse. If God calls us to missions work, then we should obey. Otherwise, God has granted that we each have a mission field in the form of our workplace. We should work to the glory of God and witness as opportunity presents itself. If God calls us to marriage, then we should definitely obey. Marriage can be an awesome blessing, but it is not for the faint of heart and it is not to be entered into lightly and it brings along with it a host of trials and tribulations and temptations that are unique to it. Plus, as Paul points out, the single person is free to serve God in any and every way they feel led. Want to work in children’s ministry? Do it. Want to join the praise team or the choir? Have at it. Want to usher? Direct cars? Perform puppet shows? Work with youth? Go on retreats? Attend every study that does not specifically exclude you (like the married couples’ study)? You can do any of that and rightly should.

I had the most freedom to serve when I was a single man. And I served. I was a part of the puppet team and the youth leadership and taught Sunday school and directed traffic and went on retreats and planned retreats and all manner of thing. I was free to serve as I felt led. I felt led to do many things. And I had joy in all of them. I am not less joyful because I am less free to serve in those capacities, rather I derive joy from the ministries of husband and father to which God has now called me. And those are full-time ministries.

To my shame, I did try to find a spouse rather than enjoy the freedom that God had given to me as a single man. Doing so robbed me of some of the joy I might otherwise have had in the service of God. Would I change my current situation? Not a bit. It is challenging to want to raise my children in the fear and admonition of the LORD and to be uncertain precisely what that looks like and how to do what God would have me do. And the challenge is somewhat exciting, because I know that God wants it done and that He is ready to instruct me in how to do it. Being a husband is a big deal, because God points at the relationship of husband and wife as an illustration of the relationship between Christ and the Church (not the band). If I mess up my role in this, then I mess up the picture God is trying to paint with the reference. And I do not want to mess that up.

Let me be content where God has me and listen for His instruction and look for His direction. If He wants me to move, then I want to move. If He wants me to stay, then I want to stay.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s