After my sermon last Sunday, Jenni Hinspeter and I had a long conversation and a good pray around some of the particular issues that arise for us around the Sabbath as single people in vocational ministry. Later in the day, as I was driving home from something where I was the only single person, Brenda, who would often have been there, rang knowing that it is often a transition that I find difficult. It was one of those times when I was both thankful for God’s provision (on this occasion even before I realised I had a need of it!) and Brenda’s thoughtfulness and response to the Holy Spirit’s prompt.
During the week I also read a book, The 7 Myths of Singleness, by Sam Allbery, a good covering of lots of the myths around singleness, written by someone who is both realistic about the struggles of singleness and also recognises the many gifts and opportunities that singleness brings. I’d highly recommend it as a useful book for people to read whatever your situation in life.
All this has got me thinking a bit more broadly – about how we might utilise the benefits and gifts of our circumstances in life for the sake of others; how to support each other in both the similar and the very different struggles and needs we have in our current life situations; and how to recognise and act upon the needs that others have in their current stage and season that we are able, often without all that much effort, to offer assistance in. There are lots of ways in which our community does this well. I could tell story after story of the ways in which people have loved others well within and beyond our community, both in similar and in very different life situations. But it’s so easy for us to get quite focused and consumed with our lives and all the demands on us and to not see each other’s needs and struggles and the ways in which we could bring life and ease the burdens of one another. So often just a little thoughtfulness, creativity and an offer of help bring much life to others, and we may find ourselves substantially blessed as a result. As well, something that will make an immense difference to another can be incorporated into what we are already doing. (On that note, thanks to the many people who regularly include me in meals, especially when I need to be around Cottesloe.) Of course, sometimes what we offer will have a significant cost – and that’s appropriate; we do have a Lord who calls us to die to ourselves – but often it will be something that just takes some willingness to consider the needs of others and to step a little beyond our own everyday life. So I encourage you to reflect this week about how you might further support those around you in ways that are low weight for you but that would be of significant benefit to them, to pray around this and then to act on it.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (Galatians 6:10).