24 March 2021
Reading: Joshua 18-20; 1 Corinthians 9
When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22 NLT)
Paul was a very strict Jew by background and as a Jew, felt he had very little in common with anyone else who wasn’t a Jew. But when Paul became a Christ-follower and realized that religion counts for nothing, and that a relationship with Jesus Christ by grace through faith counts for everything, it all changed.
From that point on, Paul looked for common ground with those of his Jewish heritage so that he could win them to faith in Christ. He looked for common ground with non-Jews so that he could win them to faith in Christ.
A few years ago I had the privilege of spending five days in Atlanta with a group of pastors and leaders from around the US in an intensive training workshop called “ReFocusing.” I spent most of those five days at a round table with four other leaders from very diverse backgrounds. Along with the other four tables of five ministers, we represented a broad spectrum of the Christian church in America.
I spent those five days listening and learning, speaking and sharing with men and women with whom I hadn’t thought I had much common ground. But as we learned more about each other, about our respective faith journeys, it was clear that we had the common ground of faith in Jesus Christ, of a sense of God’s specific calling to serve, and of commitment to God’s Kingdom work in our generation.
I came away from that experience more focused on my specific calling and purpose, and more accepting and respectful of others whose background and ministry focus is somewhat different from mine. I determined to be more diligent at seeking common ground with those with whom I serve, and with those I want to help.
Father, Thanks for Paul’s Common Ground reminder. Thanks for my opportunity to experience Common Ground with such a variety of Kingdom servants. Help me to always look for Common Ground before looking for the details that divide and separate. Please help me and my friends to be Common Ground Christ-followers! Amen!