Helping Them Seize Their Opportunity
Culture has changed drastically in America in the last sixty-five years. In 1950 the average age to marry for a female was 20 and for a male was 23. Fast forward to 2016 and the average age to marry for a female is 27 and for a male is 29. What factors have caused this? In 1950 ten percent of of high school graduates went to some form of higher education. Fast forward to 2016 and sixty-six percent of high school graduates attend some form of higher education by the first year after graduation with seventy-six percent by the second year. Higher education has played the major role in this area of culture change.
A new age stage has emerged in America over the years. In the past, churches focused on three primary areas of ministry: children, teens, and adults. Now we have a new age stage consisting of single young adults that needs specific ministry attention.
In I Corinthians 7:32-35, Paul makes an interesting statement about these young adults/college students:
“But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.”
Single men and women can devote more time and energy to the Lord and His work. This group has a spiritual advantage over married people. Think about Timothy and Titus. Paul could send these young men to different places quickly while Aquila & Pricilla ministered in their town. Does this mean single adults can please God more than married? Not at all. Both can serve God and please Him equally. Paul is pointing out a tremendous truth that these young people just do not have the responsibilities that a married person does with family.
What does all this mean? Go back with me to the picture of American culture today. Many young adults will have eight to ten years of being a single adult to which Paul is speaking of here. He is charging them to seize this opportunity in their life. This is a stage that for most will be temporary because once they get married it will be gone. They can never get this opportunity back again unless unfortunate circumstances occur in their marriage. This is an amazing opportunity for them to grow close to God, strengthen their faith, and to step out to serve Him fully.
Notice in verse thirty-five it says, “that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction” This lets us know this is a choice each young adult will have to make. Attend here means sitting well beside, sitting constantly by, or a continual attendance to. This life stage should provide less distractions. Distraction means to draw away from.
Satan is attacking this age group extra-hard with distractions. Why? He knows their potential in this stage of life! He wants to distract them to other areas all of which may be good things but not the best. School and work consume much of a students attention. Social media, devices, friends, social events and more all consume more of their attention. Drugs, alcohol, sexual immorality, and suicide are other distractions that Satan throws at these young people. Technology is a tremendous tool but has also consumed the attention of so many people today.
Years ago young people typically were in this stage that Paul is speaking of here for just a couple of years out of high school. Now, these young people spend eight to ten years in this category. These are years that God can use in a tremendous way for Him! We must help these young people recognize this opportunity in this stage of their life and seize upon it! We must help them to attend upon the Lord with out distraction because once this stage is over the opportunity is gone. Think of what God should do in your group of young adults if they all realized and seized upon this opportunity in their life!