I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. – 1 Corinthians 9:22
1 Corinthians 9:19-23
19 Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ.
20 When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law.
21 When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ.
22 When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.
23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.
Dr. Adam Grant writes, “When I was in college, I obsessed over getting straight A’s. Now that I’m a professor, ‘I watch in dismay’ when I see students joining the same ‘cult of perfectionism.’ They think straight A’s will provide entrée to elite graduate schools and prestigious careers. The evidence, however; says otherwise. Research shows that while there’s a modest correlation between grades and job performance the first year out of college, after a few years, the difference is ‘trivial.’”
“Getting straight A’s requires conformity. Having an influential career demands originality.” While straight A students are locked in their dorm rooms or library pursuing “meaningless perfection,” their peers are developing skills that aren’t captured by grades: “creativity, leadership, and teamwork skills and social, emotional, and political intelligence.” Real career success doesn’t come from “finding the right solution to a problem – it’s more about finding the right problem to solve.”
In high school Steve Jobs pulled a 2.65 GPA, J.K. Rowling had a C average at Exeter, and Martin Luther King Jr. managed only one A in four years at Morehouse College. Underachieving in school does not prevent us from overachieving in life.
1 Corinthians 9:22 I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.
The apostle Paul was a great original thinker. He thought outside the box and brought revolutionary concepts to the world in which he lived. While standing firm upon the Biblical foundation of absolute truth without a smidgen of inconsistency, he became a human chameleon conforming to others as a willing servant of the Father. While never compromising the truth, he mastered the art of accommodating oneself to others. He had the ability to put himself in the place of others; understanding, empathizing, and being able to think their thoughts. He understood what made people tick and what shaped them into what they had become.
Paul, the supreme missionary, won more people for Christ in his day than anyone else. He knew how essential it was to become all things to all people. One of our greatest necessities is to learn the art of getting along with people; and so often the trouble is that we do not even try (Barclay).
REFLECT & PRAY
Paul never compromised his convictions or his calling, but he was more than willing to find common ground and meet his audience wherever they happened to be. More than anything, he wanted to lead people to life in Christ (Stanley).
Father teach me how to stand firm on the truth and yet be flexible and adaptive to serve those whom You bring into my life.
Paul learned to interact with firm yet gentle persuasion. He mastered the fine art of immersing himself in the culture without being tainted by it. For Paul there was a priority not only to understand the culture and driving force of others, but to identify with them and immerse himself deeply within, so he could see things from the inside.
Paul had become just like the Lord Jesus Christ, a servant to all.
25 You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.
26 “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,
27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
We live in a post-Christian culture where the ground has shifted dramatically.
We can no longer assume a Christian consensus. We must be agile, adaptive, yet not compromise our faith. We are to be immersed but not compromised. It is not easy but hard to create and maintain an appropriate balance. Paul has pointed the way.
Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.