“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them…I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel…” 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (ESV)
Paul was what I would simply call “brilliant.” He was well-educated, understood difficult concepts, had people figured out, was a great writer, and was obviously a visionary in how he led and moved out in life.
He was also really, really humble. In all his abilities, he had no problem simply becoming what others were in order to deeply connect, and more importantly, lead them to new life in Jesus. “That person is a servant, well, let me start serving. Then he’ll hear my heart for him.” “Oh – they’re Jews, me, too. I know just the story to reach their hearts and cut right through those religious roadblocks. They’ll love this…” “Freedom in Christ – dude, I can walk on the free side and they will see the grace and compassion of Jesus in a new way.” And so on. He wasn’t two-faced, he was connecting out of compassion for where they were stuck and being gracious in what they didn’t understand.
Paul loved. He loved Jesus and he loved people. He knew from what he had been saved and how gracious and forgiving Jesus was to him. He knew what people needed to be saved from and wanted to be an agent of grace for others.
How many of us would be willing to get dirty in a way that looks like being a prisoner, being bitten by a poisonous snake, being beaten, being shipwrecked, giving up our position and power, etc. – all for the sake of raising awareness for people to be saved.
What are you willing to do or to become, so that those who are lost in religion, pride, arrogance, fear, or just plain ol’ ignorance can come to know Jesus and be invited into life with Him? Get dirty – love the world – it’s a mandate from the One who saved us from an eternity without Him and gave us new life.
God – thank You for saving us – You chose us when we didn’t deserve anything. You loved us when we hated You. You died for us as a friend when we were Your enemies. You loved us as Your people when we didn’t care a bit for You. Your grace and mercy is indescribable. May our lives honor and glorify You in how we love others. Amen.