District Diary’s Feb. 2023
By Marvin Penner
Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 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. 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. 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. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
After reading these verses recently I have not been able to get these words out of my mind, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” It's easy to think, what a beautiful passage of Scripture. No problem! I’ve got it, “become all things”. It’s easy to think this way when the categories are taken from the ancient world. But what if this was written to us, today in Alberta in 2023 and the categories were the things that divide people in our world? It might read something like this,
Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself to be below everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Liberals I became like a Liberal, to win the Liberals. To the Conservatives I became like a Conservative, to win some. To those who were eager to get the mRNA shots I became like one who trusts the mainstream narrative so as to win some, and to those who refused the mandates I became like one who listens to alternatives, so as to share the good news. To the drug addicted I became like the homeless so that by all possible means I might save some. 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 blessing.
Now that sounds difficult enough to suspect I’ve stretched the paraphrasing beyond all reasonable limits. So, I ask you, if 1 Cor. listed the most divisive possible categories for the 1st century church, what would you sub into the passage to represent the most divisive categories in Alberta today? After wrestling with my own conscience, I have come to this – rather than asking; how can I win the argument? I should be asking; how can I present the gospel in such a way that the people I am with will be able to hear it, no matter who they are?