“Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.” (1 Corinthians 9:19)
Everything in us shrinks from the thought of adopting a lifestyle of slavery – especially “…to everyone.” However, what we often find distasteful is beautiful to God. Remember how our Lord willingly washed His disciple’s feet. Today, He is repeatedly cleansing us as well. He is lovingly watching over us. The Bible explains, “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, observing both the wicked and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3) He fully knows if an attitude of servanthood is being developed and reflected in our actions.
The passion of Paul’s heart could easily be observed. He wrote, “… I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22b) Why did he have this attitude? He gives us the answer. He explained, “I do all this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:23) His attitude was based on his great awareness of the urgency of sharing the gospel!
There is a rich blessing awaiting those who choose to live as the Lord’s servant-witnesses. The life-giving power of the Holy Spirit flows through them like a refreshing stream of water. They are even spiritually rewarded when they simply give a cup of water in Jesus’ name (see Matthew 10:42). The Lord strongly emphasized this indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit when He said, “The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flowing from deep within him.” (John 7:38)
Paul was led to use the word slave as his own self-description. That was his chosen attitude, even though he was a Roman citizen and educated to be a Hebrew lawyer. His personal spiritual freedom came from his voluntary submission to his Master!
Again and again, the first Disciples observed the Lord serving those around Him. He reached out to all the needy. He was fully aware of those who had physical illness and the faith required to receive His healing (see Mark 5:21-34). The longer His disciples observed Him, the better prepared they became to preach and follow His example (see Mark 3:14). To affirm what they were learning, Peter wisely declared, You alone “…have the Words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)
Regardless of the apostles’ personalities, previous work, and spiritual gifts – they each learned the art of Christian servanthood. Their humility developed out of their passion for following in His steps. The Bible says,
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.” (Philippians 2:5-7)
Today, are you prepared to honestly say “Yes” to spiritual slavery? That remains the world’s best platform for an effective Christian witness. In summary, Paul wrote saying, “I have become all things to all men, so that by all means, I might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22) The inescapable truth is that our ultimate purpose and highest calling is to tell others about our Savior – while we can. He said, “If you confess Me before men, then I will confess you before My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32)
By Billie Hanks Jr.