If you've been reading my blog for a little while now, you'll understand that I love Boundless. So the following jumble of thoughts is in no way a bagging out of a ministry I respect just about as hugely as is possible. I may respect John Piper a little more than the folks at Boundless. Yes, yes. I believe I do. But Boundless is definitely tops.
However: I am a little disappointed by Thomas Jeffries' recent blog post, Delivery Not Included.
He addresses an issue he calls a variation of the "Yeah, but..." syndrome, a concept that puts the blame for the high percentage of single young Christians fair and square on the singles themselves. Jeffries speaks of God's sovereignty,
Yes, it's true that God is in control of your destiny. Yes, it's true that God can cause that special someone to happen across your path. Yes, it's even true that God can have Mr. Right parachute into the remote jungle village in Borneo where you've been serving as the only English-speaking missionary for the last 10 years. Yes, it's true that God can do anything He wants.
But then says:
That said, how likely is it that He will make sure every Christian who wants to get married will experience an unscripted meeting with just the right spousal candidate at just the right time?
He follows with an analogy from his own life:
I'm reminded of my (slightly) younger days, back when I dreamed of success as a rock musician. The bands I played in were for the most part filled with talented musicians, singers and songwriters, but we never experienced the success that leads to lucrative record contracts or nationwide tours. At least one reason for this is obvious: We didn't make ourselves available to the right people. Sure, we played at a few local clubs and recorded a decent-sounding demo, but we never performed our songs for well-connected promoters or music industry executives.
Mr. Jeffries goes on to say that many single Christians are approaching their search for a mate in the same way by not putting themselves in the right places for romantic success:
You may have lots to offer as a spouse, but if the only times you leave your home involve work and the grocery store, then your odds of meeting a potential mate are greatly reduced. If you've never been willing to be "set up" by friends and family, then perhaps it's time to make yourself available. If you live in a rural community where the only single man at church is a World War II veteran, then you might want to reassess whether it's the right place to be if marriage is important to you.
My biggest concern with this post is the underlying attitude it seems to imply. I believe Thomas Jeffries to be a godly and faithful servant of Christ. However, read on its own, his post seems to suggest that finding a marriage partner is the one single goal of life. The implication is, that if you spend too much time in your own company, you'd better get out more to increase your chances of finding a spouse. If you live in a small community populated mainly by elderly folk, maybe you should move.
This has it all backward.
We should get out more not because we want a husband but because Jesus told us to shine like stars in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (Phil. 2:15). We move to a community (or church) not because of the vast numbers of eligibles there but because this is where God has called us to show love and service.
The New Testament has little to say, specifically, about finding a mate. It has a lot to say about pursuing love from a pure heart and loving people as Jesus did. This has less to do with creating a blissful romance with a special someone and more to do with laying down our lives for the people we are surrounded by now.
Moving from church to church, social group to social group, and town to town in pursuit of a mate seems to me to be desperate at best and self-serving at worst. Ultimately, a marriage is for here and now only, just a portion of our three score years and ten or maybe more. Relationships founded on the love of Jesus endure for eternity.
And it's not a proven fact, but I tend to think that anyone who is pouring their life out in selflessness is bound to "get noticed" by a person of awesomeness somewhere along the way.
Beth -- oh do, do enter!
Meaghan -- well said!! We could never cram all our many conversations onto the page! Oh, and I'll bring the Twitter updates back, just for you :).
Staish -- :D
Sarah -- commenting on blogs most certainly counts!