12 Questions Concerning My Gift of God’s Varied Grace

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11

In this context, Peter is addressing using God’s gifts of speaking (teaching) and serving.  As I read these verses, however, it occurred to me that these are not the only gifts God gives believers.  According to Paul, singleness and marriage are also gifts from God (1 Corinthians 7:7).  With that in mind, here are twelve questions I believe 1 Peter 4:10-11 begs me to ask of my singleness, one of my gifts of God’s varied grace.

1. Do I view my singleness as a gift of grace?

Singleness is not a lack-luster stage of existence, nor does it mean there is something about me that needs to be fixed.  It is a gift from my heavenly Father who knows how to give good gifts.  As a gift, then, singleness should be received with thanksgiving.

2. Am I using my singleness, or am I wasting it?

Singleness is valuable and should be used to help advance the Gospel.  It highlights the fact that God alone is enough to satisfy my soul.  It paints a picture of child-like trust and dependence on Him.  However, singleness can be squandered by fretting away the hours.  A single person consumed with worry or preoccupied with marriage will not be able to fully use their God-given singleness.

3. Am I using my singleness to serve others, or myself?

Singleness is more than fulfilling my whims: traveling where I want, buying what I want, keeping the hours I want. It is not a chance to complete a bucket list (although there is nothing wrong about trying new things and seeing new places).  Singleness is primarily a chance to “secure my undivided attention to the Lord” and serve with a freedom I may not have later in marriage (1 Cor. 7:32-35).

4. Do I desire marriage so that I may serve others, or serve myself?

If I desire the gift of marriage, I need to understand that I serve in that as well.  It is not so that I will have a husband to do the yard work or give me companionship or make me feel completed.

5. As a single woman, do I see myself as a steward of God’s varied grace, or as someone who is being deprived?

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) God has called me to himself and planned out my works that I should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)  If his power has given me all I need pertaining to life and godliness, I am a poor testimony to His goodness if I go through life as if he hadn’t. (2 Peter 1:3) As a steward, I am content with what my Master has given me, and aim to use it so that it will multiply dividends for his use.

6. Do I appreciate that marriage and singleness do not surpass the other as gifts of grace, but are simply varied expressions?

Pride wants self to feel that it has a harder time than others or that its service is better.  However, God has appointed to each person the events that will sanctify them in his service.  I am not made inferior or superior by my relationship status.

7. Do I treat my gift of singleness as seriously as Scripture says I should treat the gift of speaking?

Singleness should mean more than the ability to lounge in my yoga pants, eat ice cream, and binge-watch Netflix. It is also more than a prep-period for marriage. It is a time to practice putting on the full armor of God, to be ready to share the reason for the hope that is within me, and to fight the good fight of faith.

8. Am I living out my singleness in my own strength, or the strength that God supplies?

Whether married or single, each Christian must admit that the grace and strength that life requires comes through Christ alone. If I can’t even guarantee my own next breath, I cannot presume to walk through singleness on my own terms and in my own strength.

9. Am I using my singleness to glorify God, or myself and my freedoms?

My Instagram is a good indicator of whom I am glorifying.  Is it full of my accomplishments and adventures or wine nights out with the girls? Or, is it often silent because I am visiting shut-ins or tutoring inner city kids?

10. Do I desire marriage so that I may glorify God?

Desiring marriage is not wrong.  Like all desires, however, it must be examined.  If I want marriage because it will complete me, I set my marriage up for heartache.

11. Do I believe that all dominion belongs to Christ? Do I submit my desire and pursuit of marriage to that truth, or do I complain and strive against His gifts?

Christ is in control of all, even my singleness.  This should free me from worrying that I messed up my life because I blew my chance somewhere.  It frees me from scheming and trying to manipulate events so that I get my happily-ever-after.  Christ’s dominion enables me to find rest in him, even as I pray that I may someday be married.

12. Is my strongest “Amen” that Christ is over all and glorified over all?

The answer to this question reveals whether my priorities are in good order, so that my attention and devotion to him will be undivided.

Listening to Silence

*throwback entry from a couple weeks ago*

For the first time this week, I heard it: silence.

An electrical storm had rolled through town, temporarily knocking out the power on my street.  Cocooned in the living room, the very center of my home, silence enveloped me.

At first this silence was unwelcome.  I was in the middle of a movie.  I was wasting time and filling the house with noise to distract myself from the fact that I was procrastinating… and mask the silence that told me I was home alone.

Happily, I remembered my battery operated radio on my desk.  I lit a few candles and switched my radio on.  Inspired, I snapped a picture to add on Instagram.  I even had a caption planned: Thank goodness for old school technology #batteryradio #wherewereyouwhenthelightswentout. 

I went to the kitchen for matches to light more candles. That’s when I stopped and heard the beauty of the silence.  The dishwasher had stopped its clicking, the refrigerator its humming, the ac unit its whirling, and the overhead light its buzzing.  The music straining from my room seemed ugly in comparison.

This realization brought a change of mind, so I stationed myself at the kitchen table and opened my windows.  Now I could hear the breeze whisper through the Spring leaves and the birds chirp a post-storm melody.  Every so often raindrops splattered onto the concrete patio.  This was not noise that obscured the beauty of the silence. Rather, it partnered with the silence to bring forth thoughts of my mind and heart that I had kept hidden and numbed behind the curtain of noise and the urgency of preoccupation.

Then the silenced asked…

  •  Why do you avoid me?
  • Why do you hide me with songs, movies, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest?
  • Can you not be still?
  • Are you afraid of your own heart secrets that I might reveal?
  • Can you not forsake distraction and the approval of others, even in your daydreams, to live in the unseen importance of the here and now?
  • Can you lay aside the mask of noise and be vulnerable?

I can’t help but wonder if silence would ask that of all of us.