"The word of the Lord came to me: You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place."
Jeremiah is one of the few people in the Bible who seem to have been called to the single life. The life of a prophet was hard and dangerous, so perhaps God was telling Jeremiah that he needed to focus all his energy on the tasks at hand and avoid distractions. No compromises were possible in Jeremiah's life; his job description was clear. I wonder what would have happened if Jeremiah had had a wife. Today it is not unusual for each member of a married couple to be employed in a job that is fulfilling and financially important to the pair. When one or the other partner wants to take a new job, many couples find themselves taking turns with career moves, particularly those that entail relocation. Priority will be given first to the one person's career, and then to the other's. Can you just see Jeremiah with a hypothetical wife when God calls Jeremiah to go prophesy? Would Jeremiah have said, "Sorry, God, but it's Linda's turn for a career move. Have you got something local for me instead?" Compromise is often necessary, but one of the great joys of the single life is not having to compromise in this way. We are free, as was Jeremiah, to do what we sense God calls us to do without worrying about how it affects a spouse.
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