Thursday, October 27, 2005

All Things To All Men

This post is based off of a meditation of 1 Corinthians 9:19-22:

"For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. to the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some."

Paul's goal was to win people to the gospel. He knows he was free from the burdens of this world and the Law of Moses--all the pressures once placed on him. He was free from the judgments of men and from their control over his life. Yet he wrote here that he made himself a slave to all. This is following the example given to us by Christ Himself (see Phil. 2: 5-8). Knowing the power of Christ and the foundation He laid, Paul followed suit. So that he might "win more" Paul became like those with whom he was sharing the message of the gospel. Each situation had its different challenges and circumstances, therefore Paul had to adjust.

I am sure that his ministry afforded him comfortable times of living--good homes, good food, good fellowship, etc. But there were many other times when that was not the case--times he was beaten and left for dead, imprisoned and held in chains. Yet he wrote himself that he had "learned to be content in whatever circumstances" he was placed (Phil. 4:11). He continued to write that he knew "how to get along with humble means," but to also know how to live in prosperity. He had learned the "secret of being filled and going hungry, both having abundance and suffering need" (4:12). The secret for him was knowing that in every one of these circumstances he was planced in, he was drawing all of his strength from Christ (4:13). It is so vital to remember that our lives are lived for the gospel, that Christ chose us (John 15:16) and we are all set apart for the purpose of God. By the grace of Christ we experience His abundant and everlasting life, leading us to this strength Paul penned in his letter to the Phillippians.

So to the Jew, Paul became as the Jews
to win the Jews.
So those under the Law, Paul became as one under the Law
to win those under the Law
So to those without the law, Paul became as one without the law
to win those without the law
And to the weak, Paul became weak
to win the weak.

"All things to all men, so that we may by all means save some."

Here is the justification for serving the lost under any capacity, whether it be a mudhut in the jungles of Africa or in the comfort of a familiar university campus . to those in the mudhuts who live by means we consider primitive, we become like them for the sake of the gospel. This means not wearing Nikes and watching the latest episode of Desparate Housewives or going to McDonald's for a Big Mac--we must adjust to their lifestyle and see their culture for the joys and comforts they find in it. It is a large adjustment for those of us coming from the United States, but a native of that village brought to the saving grace of Christ would have no difficulty adjusting to that culture. And for the college students who many think it is pointless to spend time with and have a ministry for, we must go and share the gospel, becoming like the college students and reaching them where they are. For us this means a fairly comfortable lifestyle, but again, turn the table and imagine if that same native came to America as a missionary--oh how he would have an adjustment to make to the college lifestyle!

"All things to all men, so that we may by all means save some."

This is the mission. And for this mission we must have missionaries.


  1. Very Encouraging. Thanks! God Bless!

  2. Well written, Lisi. Thank you for committing yourself to the Gospel of Christ, for going into the college where some of us won't go, for committing to learn more about the God you serve. You are an inspiration and an encouragement. You live the mission.