Single on Valentine's Day

I woke up early this Valentine’s morning and the singles of TCPC were heavy on my heart.  I prayed for them – that God would overwhelm them with His love today.

It is an honor to pastor a church with a large and vibrant community of college students and young adults.  I have discovered that nothing is more besetting to this demographic than the sting of loneliness.  And certainly days like today only reinforce that sting.  While much of our culture celebrates love in an endearingly tacky way, singles are tempted to view the whole spectacle as at best nauseating, at worst depressing.

So I have prayed for you.  And I would like to offer as well some pastoral words of encouragement.

Is Jesus worth singleness?  We are studying the gospel of Mark, and the radical call of Christ’s discipleship that will inevitably cost us.  When Jesus says, “Follow me,” He is inviting us down a cruciform path.  Is He worth it?  Christians believe He is.  We want Jesus – cross and all.  Now this cost of discipleship takes many forms, but do you know a form of Christian suffering that is becoming increasingly pervasive within our modern world?  Singleness.  It is a real burden that many Christians are having to bear.  Now I’m not implying that singleness is unique to Christians, but I do believe finding a spouse is significantly more difficult for the Christian.

Think about it, you know as well as I do that the quickest fix to your loneliness would be to forsake Christ and conviction.  I look out over our congregation each week and am amazed at all the lovely, smart, gifted, engaging, (I could go on and on with the superlatives) singles, and I know that if they would just cast off their pre-requisites and settle for anyone who would give them attention, it would only take a few nights on the town (or on e-harmony) to find a potential mate.  Instead they have chosen the awkwardly painful sub-culture of Christian dating (perhaps the greatest suffering of all!).  Let’s just state the obvious … to embrace Jesus, is to significantly narrow your options!

This is a very real cross to bear that should not be taken lightly.  You have chosen Jesus over the plethora of people out there whom I’m sure would love to take you out tonight but do not share your love for Christ.  This is a cost, dear Christian.  And when we face the different costs of discipleship, it is there that we face that ultimate question … is Jesus worth it?

And so this is the question singles are faced with on this day when their cross is magnified by a cultural holiday that celebrates what they have given up.  That is not to say you will never have it – odds are you will.  Though He makes no guarantees, chances are you will eventually have both Jesus and a spouse, but today you have chosen Jesus over a valentine’s date.  Is He worth?

Brothers and sisters, you know the answer but perhaps you need to hear it again today from a pastor.  He is indeed!  10,000 times over Jesus is better than a spouse.  I know you would like to have both, and I pray God will grant this desire of your heart, but today I hope you will view your singleness for what it is – an opportunity to honor the Savior you love by suffering in His name.  Your cross is not pleasant, but it is beautiful.  What a powerful testimony to a culture infused with the vain narrative of perfect romance, to see all these wonderful singles declare that Jesus is actually better than whatever relationship could be yours if you would just turn your back on Jesus.  I am deeply encouraged by your conviction, and you need to know that it pleases God as well.

Make no mistake about it – Jesus notices your sacrifice.  You may be forsaken by culture this day, but you are not forsaken by Jesus.  He will remember your devotion, He is pleased with your willingness to bear the cross of loneliness for His namesake, and great will be your reward in heaven!

Press on beloved.  Jesus is worth it.

Rev. Robert Cunningham