For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more
of them… I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.
I moved my family to one of the most economically poor and neglected neighborhoods
in the U.S. because I believe followers of Jesus are servants of their neighbors. Jesus
connected Gospel love to servanthood in the 13th chapter of John’s Gospel account in
verses 14-15 and 34-35. Paul is drawing a similar conclusion here in 1 Corinthians 9. The
way in which Paul makes himself a servant is by becoming aware of and adjusting to his
surrounding culture. This takes becoming a disciple of culture. I imagine shedding his
culture of origin, his familial and ethnic habits, and personal preferences was often
uncomfortable for Paul as an apostle to many different people groups. Yet, Paul was
willing to become “all things to all people” in order to see the lost saved from sin to a
If we, the Church, are to be a culturally and ethnically diverse Church, it will take being
uncomfortable. It will take setting aside our cultural inclinations and personal
preferences. It will take leaving the safety and comfort of our neighborhoods and going
to places where no one looks like us. It will take getting used to music, language, food,
etiquette and economic concerns not similar to our own. In short, serving the way Paul
served will take placing yourself in the place of the “other,” whoever that may be. May
the Lord fill us with a love bold enough to leave our cultural comforts to go across train
tracks and oceans for the sake of His colorful Bride.
Questions for Further Study
1. What does today’s passage teach us about the character of God?
2. What are some other passages of Scripture that also teach us this?
3. How does today’s passage and devotion lead you to pray? How does it lead you