11 November 2019
Reading: Psalm 122; 1 Corinthians 9-11
22 When I am with those who are oppressed, I share their oppression so that I might bring them to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone so that I might bring them to Christ. 23 I do all this to spread the Good News, and in doing so I enjoy its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:22-23 NLT)
32 Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. 33 That is the plan I follow, too. I try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what I like or what is best for me, but what is best for them so they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:32-33 NLT)
Paul tried to find common ground with everyone so that he could bring them to Christ. If he was with religious people who were far from God, he respected their traditions as much as possible so as to have common ground with them. If he was with irreligious people who were far from God, he was as street-wise and culture-aware as possible without compromising his own heart convictions. Why? So he could find common ground with them. Why? So he could bring them to Christ!
Paul made an interesting statement. He said, “I don’t just do what I like or what is best for me, but what is best for them!” Why? So they may be saved!
Paul lived his Christian life according to his personal convictions, but not according to his personal preferences. Paul didn’t just do church the way he liked it. In fact, he didn’t even do church in the way that was best for him. Paul made personal sacrifices in giving up what he liked and even in giving up what was best for him in order to bring other people to Christ.
Father, Thank you for Paul’s words and his example of “common-ground” living. Thank you for the privilege of being alive in this diverse and complicated world we live in! Please help me to find common ground with Builders, Boomers, Busters, Xers, and “Nexters!” Please help my friends and me to find common ground with people of other countries, other cultures, and other traditions. It’s not always easy. It’s not always what we “like” or even what is best for us personally, but by your grace, we’ll make the personal sacrifices to find common ground. Amen!