You walk in here, throw your stuff down, and expect me to wait on you – who do you think I am, your servant?
You turn up here, we’ve not seen you for ages, and you expect everything to be how you like it – who do you think I am, your servant?
You want me to do that? That’s not my way. What do you think I am, your servant?
Though I am free and belong to no one, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible (1 Corinthians 9:19)
I like my way of doing things. I am comfortable with it, I have tried and tested it and it works for me. But however much I like my ways, sometimes you have to do it another way, for the sake of others. We should not cling so tightly to what we want and think that we miss what others need.
Paul has very much worked his way of living and his theology out – he had to, it was such a radical turnaround from where he was before. But he recognises that sometimes he has to bend that. He has to meet others where they are so that they can understand what he is saying to them, and see God where they are. He is not too proud to do what he needs to, to lay aside things that are dear to him, that others may discover God. His sole goal is that others find God and are able to share in all he brings.
I don’t know about you, but that challenges me:
- Do we cling to some things too tightly? Seeing them as more important than people discovering God?
- Where might I need to bend to help others?
- Are we allowing others to find God in their place, rather than simply imposing ours?
- There are things we will always prefer, but what are the absolute fundamentals?
- What is God asking me to do, to help others discover him?
I thank you that you meet people where they are;
that there are so many ways for people to encounter you.
May I never stand in anybody’s way of discovery;
hold too tightly to the things I treasure
and the way I like things;
or try to impose my ways
instead of your ways