16 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! 17 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. 18 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.
19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 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. 21 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. 22 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. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (1 Co 9:16–27). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Church Family: Family Purpose
Most people think of chapter 13, the “love chapter” as the greatest and most memorable part of 1 Corinthians. I think chapter 9, particularly verses 19-23 are a close contender. There are few places in Paul’s writing where his mission as an apostle of Jesus and our mission as Christians is written down so plainly and completely.
I believe this was the way he saw every day of his life. He did not live it for himself or for any other purpose lower than saving the souls of every person he met. There was no challenge too great because there was no depth too low that he was unwilling to stoop to it. He was an exemplary Christian and he calls us to follow his example because this mission - Paul’s mission, was also Jesus’ mission as well. He who knew no sin became sin for us so that through Him we might know the righteousness of God. Jesus, who stopped for anyone: Jew, Gentile, man, woman, slave, free, healthy, sick, alive, dead, sinner, saint… Jesus made himself available to show the love of God, not by keeping himself above the crowd of sinners, but by showing them there were no depths He was unwilling to go to pursue them with God’s love.
Reflection: We are saved to serve. That goes for individuals, churches, and our families as well. When people see our families, do they see the Jesus that washes dirty feet? If your neighbors were asked what it means to be part of your family… what your family stands for and how they make a difference in the community, what would they say?
Trying to hear the music in the din of many voices.
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