I wish that all of you were as I am.
So said Paul in 1 Corinthians 7. He meant unmarried, because he was free to serve God without having to support and love a wife.
Some time ago I read an article in Boundless Webzine which I am unable to find now. It turned this verse around: a young woman who was called to and excited by a life of single was being nagged to date and get married by a friend of hers who was newly married. The writer pointed out that her friend was falling into the same trap Paul had: she wished that everyone was married like she was.
And this weekend this verse came to my mind as I listened to the sermon of a visiting speaker. (Actually I didn’t hear the whole sermon, because of a certain person who was demanding my attention and then threw up. But I heard a bit.) This man has an international ministry, and he was talking about the importance of missions and how, in order to be in God’s will, we all needed to be praying over a world map every morning and sharing with people constantly. I don’t doubt that he is blessed and satisfied through his ministry. But he wishes everyone to be as he is.
And on it goes. The evangelists want everyone to evangelize, the intercessors want everyone to pray, the helpers want everyone to work behind the scenes. And people who are organized or creative or computer-literate or love horror movies will want everyone else to be that way too. It’s not malicious or manipulative (at least not usually), they just want other people to have as pleasant or satisfying or efficient a life as they do.
But it’s also nonsense. I share my faith on occasion, but evangelism is not my calling. Never has been, and I don’t intend to waste my energy being a bad evangelist when I could be using the time to be a good teacher and writer. By the same token, I wish everyone was a critical thinker with a rich creative life, but there’s no reason they should be.
Still, it’s nice to know Paul made the same mistake.