If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission. What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel. For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings. [NRSV]
Learn this phrase: I’m ready to Share Christ wherever, with whomever, however, because of God’s love is forever.
We order a sandwich or burger — “All the Way” and the waiter/tress or specialist asks, do want than with cheddar or swiss cheese? What does all mean?
We pay one price and go to the Chinese buffet and have the opportunity to eat “All you can eat”. My favorite is the Shrimp special at Red Lobster. After you eat the first fried shrimp they ask you would like to “put in another order” for more, they bring you six more. That’s all they hope you will eat. The same is true at IHOP on all you can eat pancake days, Here are two and we will bring you two more, again, hoping that is all you order. Somewhere in the formula of ‘value’, we have some magic number of shrimp, pancakes, crab legs or egg rolls that equate to “All”.
The solution is to avoid the buffet in the first place, but we are surrounded and enticed by the invitation to find it all, have it all, and eat it all.
Others are not tempted by food but are well acquainted with completing a collection. All the tools in the set, all the pieces in the puzzle, all the cards, glasses, figures, dishes or designs in the series. There is a driving force to amass ‘all’ things..
Paul is again offering his example as direction for us all. But this model of “All things” is a slippery slope.
- All things fits with our culture and lifestyle
- All things fits with the Walmart, Lowes, Bass Pro, model
- All things fits with Amazon and the internet of all things.
Paul offers his example of reaching out to all people in ways that relate and are meaningful to them, and in that place of connection, he finds ways to share the life and power of Jesus Christ. But in this hermeneutical junctions, it is easy to lose our way.
- Have all things
- Be all things
- Do all things
Instead of “All things..for Christ” (Stay in on the good path of all things / all means that lead us to Christ.
- Vs use all I have for Christ
- Vs be available to all persons for Christ
- Vs do not let things keep me from sharing Christ
- Social pressures
- Scientific pressures
- Selfish pressures
So be warned that we don’t go so far out the door that we forget the way that leads back to Christ, but we go far enough to meet people where they are.
Jew or Greek, slave or free, rich or poor, conservative or liberal, tall or short, young or old, deserving and undeserving — Jesus Christ died for sinners like us all.
The challenge is to answer this:
With whom am I being called to share Jesus Christ today?
How far will I go to share Christ with them in a way that is meaningful and genuine to THEM?
- If I am playing it safe,
- saving for a raining day,
- relying on the faithful and successful hard work I’ve done in the past.
Who will reach this person/s if not me, who and if today, when?
The power of Paul’s model is that every day, everywhere I look or go, is a day to share Christ with someone.
So with whom and how will I do this at home? at work? at school? in travels? in my recreation? in my hobbies? in my sufferings? in my study? in my service?
Be prepared to Share Christ wherever, with whomever, however, because of forever.
tell that to your neighbor:
I’m ready to Share Christ wherever, with whomever, however, because of God’s love is forever.
if you don’t mean it, Paul is calling us to cease the opportunities around us.
if you do, then your words are liturgy of praise and celebration.