1 Corinthians 9:16-23 - For if I preach the Gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the Gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the Gospel. For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, 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 not being myself under the Law) that I might win those under the Law. To those outside the Law I became as one outside the Law (not being outside the Law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the Law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the Gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
Paul makes me laugh. He says that he gets no credit for preaching the Gospel, because it's a compulsion—he literally cannot make himself stop! So if he wants to go above and beyond, he has to think up something else. And that's why he chooses to do his ministry without salary. It's his way of making sure that at least some of what he does is "worth something" as an offering to the Lord. And he considers that in itself to be a kind of reward. Because giving something to the one you love—the Lord—that's a reward in itself, don't you think?
So Paul just lays himself out to bring as many people as possible to Jesus. That's the kind of love he has for the Lord. And he does it how? By adapting himself and making himself a servant to everybody. As I understand it, he doesn't mean being a doormat. No, he means living his life in a way that other people can understand and feel comfortable with—that they can relate to. Because when they see someone like themselves who trusts in Jesus, it makes it easier for them to trust in Jesus themselves.
Paul's right! (Of course he is, he's speaking by the Holy Spirit!) Still, I've seen it work in my local Vietnamese community. It is definitely easier for people to listen to my family talk about Jesus if they see us living like they do—eating the same food, dealing with the same problems, enjoying the same music, and being a part of the community. Then they are willing to listen when we tell them that Jesus is God come into our world—and that He loves us and them, too, and calls us to trust in Him. Then we can tell them the story of how He lay down His life to make all of us God's children—and rose again, so that we can have life that lasts forever.
WE PRAY: Dear Jesus, use me to reach the people You love, and help me adapt however You know best so that they can hear about You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Are there things that you do automatically, like it or not, as Paul does? What are they?
2. Do you find it easy or difficult to adapt to other people?
3. How has Jesus adapted Himself to you?
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