Enjoying Each One “His Own Gift from God”
AMONG the gifts God has bestowed upon his human creatures are those of singleness and of marriage. As the apostle Paul states in his discussion of these two states: “But I wish all men were as I myself am. Nevertheless, each one has his own gift from God, one in this way, another in that way.”—1 Cor. 7:7, NW.*
The blessings and joys that God purposed to go with marriage truly show it to be a precious gift and an expression of his great love. To realize his purpose regarding the earth and to let man enjoy great happiness God put a very strong attraction into play between the sexes, causing them to want to marry. If each partner does his share the blessings of marriage can bring much joy and satisfaction. To that end, however, each one must work at it diligently.
While not many may think so, yet the Scriptures show that singleness is also a gift having many joys peculiar to it. That is why Jesus stated: “Not all men make room for the saying, but only those who have the gift.” In keeping with Jesus’ words are the observations of Paul. He shows that single persons are anxious for the things of the Lord, how they may gain His approval, whereas married persons are anxious for the things of the world, how they may gain the approval of their mates.—Matt. 19:11; 1 Cor. 7:32-34.
Among those who cultivated the gift of singleness was Jeremiah, who was commanded not to marry, in order to impress upon his hearers the urgency of his message. Another was Jephthah’s daughter, who readily acquiesced to her father’s vow, remaining a virgin for the rest of her life, which she spent in faithful service at the temple. And there are the examples of John and Paul, and especially of Jesus Christ, our Leader and Commander. Without doubt each one of these enjoyed many blessings he would not have had had he married.
Just as those who are married must work at their gift to continue to enjoy it, so must those who are single work at theirs if they wish to continue to enjoy it. Above all, it is necessary for them to cultivate the fruitage of the spirit known as self-control. They strengthen and fortify this specially directed self-control by looking at the advantages they enjoy by remaining single and the undesirable things they avoid. They also plan to enjoy their singleness to the full. This is not being selfish but is merely an enjoying of what they are entitled to, while they let married couples enjoy the blessings they are entitled to. And primarily it is done to the pleasing and to the praise of Jehovah God and in the interest of his kingdom by Christ.
To fill up the void that single persons might feel because of not having a beloved marriage partner they plan to fill up their lives with all the service of God that they can. Keeping fully occupied in God’s service keeps their hearts and minds fixed on the urgent work now to be done in the short remaining time. This self-application pays with joys and blessings that counterbalance anything that their flesh may at times want to persuade them that they are missing because of not having a Christian mate.
So in the words of Paul: “Are you bound to a wife? Stop seeking a release. Are you loosed from a wife? Stop seeking a wife.” Yes, let him who is married not envy those who are single and let not him who is single envy those who are married. Rather, let each one be enjoying his own gift from God.—1 Cor. 7:27, NW.
For details see The Watchtower, October 1, 1956.