Paul begins chapter nine of first Corinthians by asking this question…
“Am I not free?
The implied answer is “yes, I am indeed free”. By verse nineteen he makes this profound statement:
“Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.”
Paul answers my question from yesterday’s post, “What will you do with that freedom?” He used it to make himself a slave to win as many as possible to Christ. Paul further articulates his answer in verses twenty through twenty-three:
“Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn't take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I've become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn't just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!” (The Message)
I love Paul’s “whoever” list:
“… religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever”
Who’s on your “Whoever” list?
To be completely honest, lately I’ve been having an easier time with the nonreligious, loose-living immoralist, the defeated and the demoralized. The religious, meticulous-moralist just tick me off.
So do I get to pick and choose who is on and who is off my “whoever” list? Well, I can, I have. But then its “Tom’s” list, not a “whoever” list. No, I don't get to choose, God does. I gave him that right when I gave him my life.
In the ocean of freedom that is mine in Christ, who might He send me to that I can, like Paul, make myself a slave to win as many as possible?
Lord show me who is on your “whoever” today. Give me the grace I need to enter their world and experience things from their point of view, amen.
© Tom Zawacki 2006