1 Corinthians 9:15-27
15 But I haven’t used any of those rights. And I’m not writing because I hope you will do things like that for me. I would rather die than allow anyone to take away my pride in my work. 16 But when I preach the good news, I can’t brag. I have to preach it. How terrible it will be for me if I do not preach the good news! 17 If I preach because I want to, I get a reward. If I preach because I have to, I’m only doing my duty. 18 Then what reward do I get? Here is what it is. I am able to preach the good news free of charge. And I can do this without using all my rights as a person who preaches the good news. 19 I am free and don’t belong to anyone. But I have made myself a slave to everyone. I do it to win as many as I can to Christ. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew. That was to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one who was under the law. I did this even though I myself am not under the law. That was to win those under the law. 21 To those who don’t have the law I became like one who doesn’t have the law. I did this even though I am not free from God’s law. I am under Christ’s law. Now I can win those who don’t have the law. 22 To those who are weak I became weak. That was to win the weak. I have become all things to all people. I have done this so that in all possible ways I might save some. 23 I do all this because of the good news. And I want to share in its blessings. 24 In a race all the runners run. But only one gets the prize. You know that, don’t you? So run in a way that will get you the prize. 25 All who take part in the games train hard. They do it to get a crown that will not last. But we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 So I do not run like someone who doesn’t run toward the finish line. I do not fight like a boxer who hits nothing but air. 27 No, I train my body and bring it under control. Then after I have preached to others, I myself will not break the rules. If I did break them, I would fail to win the prize.
“I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings”. This is the stand out verse for me, as it is the crescendo of Paul’s description of becoming a slave to others, or becoming like others so that he might develop a relationship with them to then be able to present the gospel. I am personally challenged by this attitude of Paul, and I ponder on how this applies to my own life. Am I adaptable? Am I empathetic? Do I seek to connect to those who are different to me? Do I go as far as becoming weak to win the weak? Am I prejudice? Do I make available the time to connect with others who are “different” to me?
Paul obviously made a conscious decision to connect on the level of many, to further the gospel, and I am challenged by his example.
Lord, help me to be willing to put aside my own comfort, and challenge me to mix with those who are different to me, for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessing. Amen
Written by Steve Fell