“I have become all things to all people,
that by all possible means I might save some….”
(1 Corinthians 9:22)
As you read 1 Corinthians 9:22, do you sense the calm intentional strength of Paul’s words? It is only when the Lord Jesus is at the very core of our lives that we can identify with what God’s highly dedicated servant is describing. He is literally saying that he is focusing all of his attention – on introducing others to the Savior! He explains that to accomplish this, he intentionally made the decision to become – “…all things to all people…”
Does the adventure of serving Jesus Christ beckon you? If your answer is “Yes,” then you will need to discover a secret. Paul’s inspiring testimony reflects the Holy Spirit’s leading. His example means – there must be absolutely no place where you and I will not go in order to share the gospel. Pause to quietly meditate on this reality. However, there’s much more – consider the meaning of Paul’s words, “become all things.” He was a trained attorney and a Roman citizen, yet he chose to live humbly, simply making tents. He purposely did this in order to fulfill his itinerant calling to serve the world’s multitude of Gentiles (see Acts 13:47).
Paul was a highly respected Hebrew leader, yet to proclaim his faith, he was called to travel far beyond his geographic area. As you reflect on his powerful witness to the Gentiles, consider yourself. Is there any privately known – fear, prejudice, or pride that is hindering you from effective ministry? Is there a haunting unconfronted sin that is leaving you feel unfit or reluctant to share your personal testimony? Is there unaddressed indifference or worry that is blocking the Holy Spirit’s activity in your life? The Bible addresses this heartache saying, “do not quench the Holy Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19)
When it comes to ministry priorities, always remember that Gentiles were and still are members of every non-Hebrew race. This means that our Great Commission outreach to “all people” must be “colorblind!” The Lord Jesus said, “…this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)
Any public or private ministry that makes a profound spiritual impact must be genuinely inclusive. The Lord’s Apostle explained, “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.” (1 Cor. 9:19) Your chosen allegiance to the Savior demands that you befriend the friendless, care about the outcast, and become an encourager to the discouraged. As our example, Barnabas had this very same ministry of encouragement to young Saul of Tarsus (see Acts 9).
Today, it would be wise to honestly check your own heart. Don’t forget that selective love can easily neglect an entire race or even your own neighborhood. Will you please pause and stop reading long enough to thoughtfully consider the scope of your love? Does it actually include your enemies? (see Luke 6:27-36) How truly Biblical is it? Does it resemble your Master’s inclusive concern? Do you long to see people of every race, nation, cult, and religion receive the knowledge of salvation? Your private prayer life will quickly give you the answer to these questions!
For greater spiritual effectiveness, the Holy Spirit may want to revamp your daily prayers. If He does, be ready to adopt new priorities – so you will be prepared for service!
By Billie Hanks Jr.