I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings (1 Corinthians 9:22b-23)
Chameleons are remarkable creatures. Their unique genetic makeup gives them the ability to blend in in various situations and to camouflage themselves from potential predators. They become like all things for the sake of preserving their lives. In a sense, Paul described his ministry as that of a chameleon: becoming all things to all people so that some might come to faith.
Paul understood something very important about people: they are willing to listen to someone with whom they can relate. So if he was in the company of Jews, he practiced Jewish customs. When he was with those under the law, he practiced the law. To the weak, he also appeared weak. This all wasn’t for the sake of being disingenuine. To the contrary, Paul simply realized that more people would be open to the Gospel if they could relate to the one proclaiming it.
Sometimes as Christians we can disconnect ourselves so much from the lives of those outside of the church that we can no longer relate. For Paul, he was willing to do anything short of sinning to help people come to faith. If we were willing to do the same, we might be surprised to see the number of people who are interested in knowing more about Christ.
Father, it’s so easy to live in a Christian bubble and to have few interactions with those who are outside of Christianity. Paul’s example, however, is totally opposite – he became all things to all people so that some might come to faith. Give me wisdom to know what that looks like in my own life, and then give me the courage I need to share my faith with others.