Thursday, February 14, 2013
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Surprise! I used to be in a quartet. Oh I did! Listen, don't laugh out loud. Yes, when I was in college, for a little while I sang in a gospel quartet. I did not sing any solos. No, no solos for me. Now, musically, I'm okay in a group. Solo – not so much. You know, in a way, we're all like that.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I'm going to have A Word With You today about "The Antidote For Loneliness."
Now, our word for today from the Word of God takes us back to the book of Genesis, to the very beginning to Adam; a fellow with a great home-the Garden of Eden. Couldn't beat that! A great job-he's got all the benefits you could possibly have. He's got closeness to God. But in Genesis 2:18, "The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'" Then the account goes on to talk about the creation of Eve for Adam from Adam's own rib.
It's interesting that God looks at a man who seems to have an ideal environment and everything going for him and says, "It is not good for you to be alone." See, we're built from our very creation, to live in partnership with someone we love – no solos. Now, being married doesn't necessarily mean you're not alone. Maybe you know someone who hurried. Not being married; that's not the worst loneliness of all. It's being married to the wrong person.
Maybe you haven't been protecting your time with the person you're married to, and so, tragically, you are married but both of you feel alone because everything else has crowded each other out. You've got to get back together again.
I said being married doesn't mean you're not alone, but being single doesn't mean you are alone. Paul, for example, was very single, very busy, never married. And yet he had a network of people who supported him his whole life. His letters are filled with references to those many people who were ministry partners, people who helped him, encouraged him, lifted him up. He told us that the mother of Rufus was "someone who has been a mother to me too" in Romans 16. He said Timothy was his son in the gospel.
He said to Timothy, "Recalling your tears, I long to go see you so that I may be filled with joy." And then he had a friend, Onesiphorus, who according to 2 Timothy 1, refreshed him. And to the believers in Rome, he said, "By God's will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed."
Paul was a tower of spiritual strength and emotional strength. If any Christian could have gone it alone – could have been a soloist - he was the man. And yet he nurtured and needed peer partnership. He had spiritual brothers, and mothers, and friends, and refreshers; a network of people. Now, you can't expect if you're single for any one best friend to be like a marriage partner to you and meet all those emotional needs. And you'll smother a person if you try to get one person to be that.
But you can build, like Paul did, a network of caring people and you're part of God's network for them. It's a two-way street. You need to invest in those friendships; take time with them; build yourself a rich life while you're single. You've got to be a good one before you can be a good two anyway. Don't just sit there and wait for Prince Charming or Cinderella to come along. Build life partnerships now. Guard quality time with them as a married couple must do.
Being single doesn't mean being alone if you'll invest in those life partnerships and not just sit there saying, "Oh, when am I going to be married?" Take encouragement from this, that the God who made you need people - will give you the people you need.