Monday, March 2, 2020

All Things to All People

Rethinking our ideas for reaching people. 🌏

My husband and I listened to a great message recently about the apostle Paul and his passion for reaching people. It talked about how Paul became something to whoever, everyone, all people -- for the sake of sharing the Gospel.

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 1 Corinthians 9:19‭-‬23

It really got us thinking about the people we spend time with. We believe strongly in the ministry of hospitality. We always tell everyone our door is open to all and everyone is welcome. And we've had many beautful and fulfilling times with friends and family by doing this. But this message about Paul had us asking ourselves, Are we actually being welcoming to ALL? Does truly everyone feel comfortable around us? Or are there those who shy away from us for fear of judgement since they live differently than we do? It was pretty eye opening to say the least!

We strive to be a friend to all, regardless of differing lifestyles, political views, and beliefs. We decided it was time to take a close look at what we were putting out there for the world to see and feel. Now, this doesn't mean hiding our love for God and the knowledge of His Word, or changing it in any way, to attract the world to us. That would very dangerous. Instead, it involves stirring up and nurturing a love for others that is more inclusive and whole. If our love FOR God is at the top of our priorities, then spreading the love OF God must fall closely behind. And keeping in mind that God does not play favorites -- remembering that we never look into the face of someone God does not love -- that means we must show that same love to everyone. We must carefully step into their world and be their friend.

We must become all things to all people. And that means everyone.

Not just the people like us that we prefer to spend our time with -- but the ones we might ordinarily avoid.

Not just the ones who know who they are -- but the lost ones, too.

Not just those who have it all together -- but those who are broken, as well.
Not just the people inside of our homes and churches, where it's comfortable and safe -- but the ones out in the world, where it's unpredictable, a bit more scary, shaky, unfamiliar and messy.

Reaching people for Christ's sake has no exemptions or limits. It doesn't play favorites.
When it comes to sharing the Gospel with others, people don't care how much we know about God until they know how much we care about them. We can recite all the scriptures we want and preach at them until we are out of breath. But if we do not truly and genuinely show them that we care about the salvation of their soul, they will not listen to us.
We need to meet others where they are, not where we are, and get to know them. That means spending time with people that aren't like us. It means being understanding of and loving people who do things we disagree with; whose lives we disapprove of. It means associating with morals and beliefs that don't match our own.

We need to be firm and confident in our own relationship with Christ, then enter their world, and bring God's love to them. And not by shoving our beliefs down their throat or smacking them over the head with our Bibles, but by being their friend; by comforting them in times of need and being a person they feel safe around.
We do not have to be like others in order to be a part of their world and connect with them; to love them and show kindness; to be salt and light. But we do have to love them, regardless of who they are and what they do. And we'll never love them right if we don't get to know them first.

We can't lead anyone towards salvation if we spend our lives avoiding them. And since we never know who is looking for Jesus, we absolutely cannot pick and choose.

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