February 5

1 Corinthians 9:19-23

“I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.” vs. 23

Paul’s life had been resurrected by the gospel of Jesus Christ, and he wanted to share that blessing with as many people as he could. So he carefully crafted his message to fit the life situation of those he wanted to reach. He learned to speak the language his hearers would understand. To Jews he spoke as a Jew, to Gentiles as a Gentile–in his words he became all things to all people. He could do this because he knew that the gospel wasn’t in itself conservative or liberal; it wasn’t a theology or philosophy. Rather, it was a power, a renewing force, that liberated people from the morass of their own small-mindedness, and that connected them to the living Christ. It took people out of their everyday concerns and gave them a vision for caring and serving, for loving with the heart of Jesus. It’s sad then, in our time, to see people retreating into their little enclaves of like-minded persons, and worse, believing that they and they alone can grasp the truth. The gospel, as Paul understood it and as Jesus proclaimed it, sets us free from ghetto thinking and opens us up to the Peaceable Kingdom, where enemies are loved and all people are valued. The world was changed by Paul’s shapeshifting, his willingness to be as others for the sake of the gospel–and that same power is available to us.

Thought for the Day: How do I change according to who I am with?

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