The Single Life (4): Single and Significant

Is it wrong to speak about a person feeling “significant?” Isn’t Christianity all about being occupied with Christ and not with myself? Is a person’s quest for significance really a façade for self-occupation and pride? Perhaps. Yet even before the entrance of sin, at the dawn of time, God allotted to Adam a sphere of responsibility and labor, and to Eve a role to fulfill. All this was not mere “busy work” to keep them occupied. It was meant both as a training school and a sphere of satisfaction and fulfillment. We are hardwired to thrive on responsibility and fulfillment.

The Lord Jesus promised that those who are His sheep will know “life … more abundantly” (John 10:10). This life involves the fellowship and enjoyment of divine persons. But it also embraces a fulness of life as life was meant to be: full of a sense of purpose, meaning, direction, and satisfaction.

What develops a sense of significance for any believer? What imparts to what I am doing and invests in my life a sense of importance, meaning, or significance?

The home in Bethany with its three inhabitants affords fresh insights into this aspect of the single life once again. Notice that the love of Christ and His interest in them imparted a sense of significance to their …


What put Bethany on the map? What made it an important place? Doubtless there were a myriad of similar small villages strewn throughout Israel. Yet it is recorded that Lazarus was sick in Bethany, “the town of Mary and her sister Martha” (John 11:1). Bethany was the town of these three believers. What imparted importance, what placed it on heaven’s radar screen, was that it was where three believers, three people who loved the Lord Jesus, lived.

There may well have been others of greater social importance who graced the village. Homes may have been more elaborate and spacious; some may have been involved in the politics of the day and wielded greater influence in the marketplace. All that meant little to the heart of Christ. It was the presence of those He loved that made it an important place in His movements.

The presence of a believer in a town, office, school, or dormitory, is what makes it important to heaven. Your presence lends significance to what is otherwise insignificant.

His love and interest also gave significance to their …


The service-worship of Mary in John 12 had value only in so far as it brought honor to Christ. Had she used the ointment on herself, it would have been natural. Had she used it on Lazarus at his burial, it would have been sincere and kind. But when she used it for Christ, it elevated her service to its highest possible level. It invested it with a rare value which has not diminished to this day. It has known nothing of depreciation.

What gives significance to what you do as a single believer for the Lord (or any other believer, for that matter) is that it is being done for Him. The accomplishments of men, while significant in the sense of results, cause few ripples in heaven. What a believer does, if done for the Lord, carries incalculable significance.

That 8-to-5 job at which you work, that Sunday school class you teach, that effort you make with your students at school, those hospital patients you try to comfort and speak to – all of this is valued by heaven. Even labor in the secular sphere, if done as to Christ (Eph 6:5), is important to the Lord. Slaves, by their honest and diligent labor, were able to “adorn the doctrine of God” before their unbelieving masters (Titus 2:9, 10). So significant was the secular labor of these believers that they were promised a recompense from the Lord Himself for their day-to-day work (Eph 6:8).

Mary’s deed was prompted by her love for the Savior and her awareness of His impending death and burial. Yet, her act not only thrilled and delighted His heart, but it set in motion a series of events which furthered the purposes and timetable of God (Matt 26:14-16).

You may feel your efforts are limited as you look at married couples and their work for God. But the God Who controls your circumstances, also infuses value into your labor and appreciates all that is done for Him. His love is what gives significance as well to your …


Does being single make a person a second class Christian? Does it mean that you are somehow not as important as those who are couples, those who seem to be in the places of prominence? Are you “incomplete;” not a full “person”?

There is a tendency, tragically, for many to view unmarried believers as somehow being “deficient” or not measuring up. Their singleness implies something must be wrong with them. Some single people view themselves as being “on the shelf” or marking time until they are married and can really begin to live.

The Lord does not have any second-class Christians. If those of us who are married imply or treat others who are single in this manner, then we are at variance with heaven. Each believer is of equal value to the heart of the Lord Jesus. “Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.” Notice how each is named individually. How interesting that Martha – whom we usually deprecate because of her supposed failures in John 11 and Luke 10 – is named first. Mary is “her sister.” So there is hope for all Marthas who are trying to be Marys.

Completeness as a person is not found in a spouse but in Christ (Col 2:10). It is not marriage which enables a person to be the full personality which God intended him or her to be, it is being in Christ! Only then can a person truly be fulfilled and complete.

The life of every believer, whether married or single, is significant because it has direction – it is a life planned by the Omniscient Lord. It carries purpose as it forwards the will of God and the honor of His Son. It possesses meaning as it adds to the eternal purposes of God. All of this gives significance to each life.