Gleanings – That I Might Win All the More

1 Corinthians 9:16-27

“I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”

Essentially Paul is saying I am a Jew to the Jew and a Gentile to the Gentiles. For the weak I will become weak. Paul is willing to meet people where they are. He has been given a mission and cultural boundaries will not stand in the way. Conventional wisdom will not hinder the proclamation of life altering history changing Good News.

So Paul is willing to be white, black, Latino, Asian, whatever it takes. He is willing to be rich and just as willing to be poor. He is willing to American and likewise willing to be Iranian. Those categories will not deter him in his efforts to save some.

But before Paul is willing to meet us where we are, he must sacrifice something himself, his own need for identity apart from his part in God’s plan of salvation. “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more.” Hear it? Others are more important than Paul. The Other is more important than self. He is submitted fully to the cause.

Vivid is the image of a bishop strolling into a crusade filled with the world’s poorest. He was in a thousand dollar suit and polished $250 shoes. Now there is nothing wrong with either of those but this man so needed to make his identity known to that gathering that it made him oblivious to who was assembled, to the plight of the third world.

Paul, by example, is leading us elsewhere. An endeavor to save some, just some, makes all other things meaningless by comparison. First he wanted us to increase our margins. Now he wants us to sacrifice self. All this that we might cease our flight and move toward people equally created in the image of God.

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