Paul gives a mandate by way of example in today’s Bible reading. After discussing the fact that he has not lorded his apostleship over anyone, Paul tells us about his methodology for reaching people with the Gospel Message: Think outside the box to reach people.
Although I am free from all and not anyone’s slave, I have made myself a slave to everyone, in order to win more people. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the law, like one under the law—though I myself am not under the law—to win those under the law. To those who are without the law, like one without the law—though I am not without God’s law but under the law of Christ—to win those without the law. To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some. Now I do all this because of the gospel, so that I may share in the blessings.
1 Corinthians 9:19–23 (CSB)
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.”
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing, expecting different results.”
Two versions of the deadliest seven words in advancing a cause: “We’ve never done it that way before.” and “We’ve always done it this way before.”
Such were the common sayings of the Customer Service Training I used to conduct.
Paul was willing to think outside the box to reach out to people with the Gospel. Oftentimes, this meant he was criticized, such as taking the Gospel to the Gentiles. It seems that everywhere Paul goes in the Book of Acts, a mob forms to oppose him. Sometimes, thinking outside the box almost cost him his life.
Paul knew the importance of changing his methods without changing his message. We should be willing to do that, too!
It’s so easy to do what’s comfortable. It’s so easy to not think outside the box. And in doing what’s comfortable, we can easily waste time and other valuable resources and find ourselves frustrated that those great methods of fifty years ago aren’t working.
But any business person can tell you, you have to be willing to change your methods if you want to continue getting out your message. Don’t believe me? When was the last time a Fuller Brush salesperson knocked on your front door? When was the last time the Avon Lady rang your doorbell?
The Gospel Message is no different from any other message in this respect. We must be willing to think outside the box and do things differently — or not do them any longer — than we have always done them in the past.
Lost people are dying without Jesus.
We must be willing to change our methods in order to get out our message!
This devotional is slightly revised from one that was originally published on August 10, 2019.
* Chapters covered in today’s reading:
1 Corinthians 9
1 Corinthians 10
1 Corinthians 11