“All Things to All People”

I just started reading “Everybody Always”, Bob Goff’s follow-up to “Love Does”. Bob Goff’s larger than life personality, crazy adventures, and unbridled love for literally “everybody” inspires me to live life to the fullest. I’m only 3 chapters in, but just the title alone reminds me of the Apostle Paul and one of his personal mission statements:

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 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. 21 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. 22 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. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

I love this verse and I feel it’s my own personal mission statement. I’ve always had that type of personality that is drawn to a wide variety of people. I love having interesting & diverse friends and I’ve always been able to make friends with just about anybody. I’m so thankful to be an evangelist on a very diverse campus like UNT, because “becoming all things to all people” has certainly been amplified in me and in our students this past year!

However, if I’m honest, there are still certain people I avoid. I’m being reminded by Bob and by Jesus, that these sometimes difficult and messy people are the exact people I am called to love, spend time with, and share the Good News with.

Our human instinct is to group up in clusters of people who are like us. Chances are, the people you live near, work with, socialize with, go to church with, and even your Facebook friends for the most part are similar to you. Most of the people we surround our selves with have similar world-views, and are economically, racial/ethnically, religiously/denominationally, & politically like us. Let’s get out of our bubbles people! I am so thankful that America and our city are such diverse melting pots, but we have to intentionally take advantage of this great opportunity.

But loving God & loving people has its challenges…We are called to walk a fine line & to be balanced:

  • To “Be all things to all people” yet “Being Holy as God is holy” to be “set apart”.
  • Letting our “Light shine” yet “being humble and not practicing our righteousness so to be seen by others”.
  • To “Hold to the Truth” & to “Speak the Truth in Love”, but to “not judge, knowing the same standard by which we judge others will be the same standard applied to us” yet to “not be carried away by the error of unprincipled people” and the by “lusts of the world”.
  • To “Love our Neighbors as we love ourselves” yet “to stand firm in our faith” and “remain unstained by the world”.
  • To be “in the world, but not of the world”,
  • And called to “Accept one another as Christ accepted you” but also to “not let sexual sin, perversion of any kind, or greed even be mentioned among us”.

Even Jesus was misunderstood and misrepresented. It’s obvious that we as Christians are no different. We are portrayed as bigoted, judgmental and unaccepting hypocrites, yet for true followers of Christ, we should be the most loving, charitable, kind, forgiving, humble, accepting (of people, not sin) & compassionate people on earth. While at the same time always remembering that God says “the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God” and “the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing”.

Is this a balance we can achieve by our own efforts? NO, we need strength and wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit, from prayer and from spiritual community. We also need real conversations with real people.

Let’s also remember the hardest thing Jesus told us to do… “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. In our torn, conflicted society and this violence filled world, loving our enemies just might be the brightest way to shine the light and love of Jesus in a way that could change our world!

Other Posts You Might Like:

The Best Job in the World - Laurie Templeton

At the End of Your Rope? - Ross Thomson

Mind Over Matter - Madi Burnett

Distractions - Brandon Bell

You Never Know - Don Compton



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