The Unmarried and the Widowed
25 Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (1 Co 7:25–31). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Church Family: Family Devotion
What do Martha and Mary have to do with marriage and singleness and family life? Everything.
I’m turning 34 this year, celebrating 6 years of marriage, and I cannot believe how fast the time has gone. I can still remember the anxiety of being a teenager and then the pain of loneliness as a young adult trying to figure out if I was even marriage material and who in the world would be able to spend their life with me. Honestly, that thought probably consumed more of my thoughts and energy than anything else for well over a decade of my life. I know I’m not alone.
Paul’s word of divine wisdom to the Corinthians really boils down to this: focus on what God is doing here and now and let him worry about where you will be and what you will be doing tomorrow. He points out the problem is not the relationship status… it is the worrying. Yes, worrying about relationships counts as worrying too, not just worrying about money, work, or school. It is all the same.
Jesus taught against worrying in Matthew 6, but we have an excellent example in the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10). Martha worried about everything. Being a single woman trying to care for a sister and sick brother, I’m sure she worried about her relationship status too at times. The beautiful example here is Mary. Mary is not better than Martha. Mary has the same challenges, lives in the same household, knows the same worry, fear, pain, and shame that can accompany singleness in adulthood. This day was different though.
This particular day, Jesus was there in her house. He had arrived in power and glory and gentleness and love… and all those worries just blew away in the fresh wind that had entered her life. Martha tried to get her to help her catch all those worries, but Mary relished in the moment. Certainly tomorrow would arrive, Jesus would not be in her home anymore, and some of those worries might return, but today she was going to turn her eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face - and the things of earth would grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.
Reflection: These relationship questions come at all of us in different forms and for different reasons. How are you enjoying the presence of Jesus through the relationships (spouses, friends, family, etc.) that you have now? What relationships are, like Martha, trying to pull you from Jesus and bring you back into the world of worry?
Trying to hear the music in the din of many voices.
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