He wouldn’t leave her side.
When I asked David to consider a significant leadership role within our church, he politely declined. I felt I had all the right reasons for needing him to step into this role, but his perspective on what was urgent and most important was quite different from my own. His concern was for his wife, whose life was on a countdown clock—one cancer had created and hadn’t given a definitive answer of when time would be up. For him, knowing that her time was short, he wouldn’t find himself in any leadership or ministry capacity apart from her. The urgency of time shaped the way he stewarded his marriage. It should shape ours as well.
The Corinthians had inquired of Paul regarding some issues they were trying to sort out. Namely, questions about marriage, singleness, and divorce, and the timing of all those things, rang in their minds. The church wondered if the return of Christ was at hand and the end of the age was near. It was enough for them to wonder what they should do with their relationships.
The instruction Paul gives them in 1 Corinthians 7 is just as relevant for us today as it was then. Married believers should love and serve each other in the way marriage is intended to be demonstrated (vv.1-7). Marriage is indeed good, and married believers should not divorce or abandon their spouses (vv.10-11). If you are married to an unbeliever and they want to stay married, then do so (vv.12-16). Single people can pursue marriage, although it may be wise to remain unmarried if you possess the gift of singleness (vv.8-9, 25-35). And in whatever station in life you find yourself at this present time, choose to “remain with God” (v.24).
The point is that, given the brevity of life and the serious nature of the times, Scripture calls us not to squander our current relationships, but instead to be better managers of them all the more. “God has called [us] to live in peace” with one another (v.15). And though “time is limited” and “this world in its current form is passing away” (vv.29, 31), Paul says these things serve to give us a right perspective on our lives and relationships.
The brevity of our lives should motivate us to walk with one another in dignity, love, and integrity. In light of the passing times, we are called to steward our singleness or marriages well. Whatever the case may be, we are to devote our relationships to the Lord.
Written by Jeremy Writebol