Though I am free … I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.
1 Corinthians 9:19
When my wife and I were in language school in northern Japan, there were times when I felt completely exasperated.
I would throw down my book and growl, “Why didn’t the Japanese modernize their language and exchange these characters for the alphabet? It’s like trying to learn ancient hieroglyphics!”
Then one day I realized that my protests were beside the point.
Though I was free in Christ, I had chosen to become a slave for Japanese people “to win as many as possible” to Christ. Or, I should say, I had been called to be a slave for their sake, for that is what a missionary call involves.
Like the servant in Exodus 21:5 who might say, “I love my master … and do not want to go free,” and who then becomes a lifelong servant in the master’s household, so we must become like servants to the people we want to win for Christ.
Our words are empty if we say we want to win our neighbors for Christ but we refuse to deal with some costs or challenges in order to get the message through. Evangelistic love costs us our freedom.
The apostle Paul put it this way: “I have become all things to all [people] so that by all possible means I might save some” in the name of Jesus.
Lord, when we chafe under the yoke of being your messengers, please come alongside and bear the load with us. Help us to help you bring forth fruit for eternal life. Amen.
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