“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.” 1 Corinthians 9:19 (ESV)

Being somewhat of a task-oriented person, it’s easy to be very involved in a project or focused on a schedule I have created for myself. Someone might call or show up at my desk who needs me to listen or help them with a problem. At that moment, my servant’s heart might fly out the window and while I listen, I’m grumbling to myself about the interruption. Hopefully, with the Holy Spirit’s help, I realize that people are more important to God than my to-do list completed, or a project completed on time. In the best scenario, if I am really relying on the Lord, my time is multiplied and I’m able to do both, joyfully.

Paul did not answer to anyone, not a wife, not a boss, not his children, but he did answer to God. And “winning more” in verse nineteen meant winning more souls for God’s kingdom.  In other words, Paul had no distractions to interfere with his mission and calling of “winning” more souls. Not only that, he didn’t boast that Jesus had personally spoken to him, that he had vast knowledge, or that he was an apostle, though all of those were true. He humbly said he was willing to be a servant to “all” to win more people to Christ. What does that mean for us?

It means putting ourselves last and serving others, not because we must, but because loving Jesus means loving and caring for people, even at our own expense or inconvenience. It means reaching out when it’s not comfortable. It means offering help when we’d rather be doing something else. It means showing Jesus’ love to someone who has been unkind to us. It just means loving people. Sounds simple, but in our busy and hectic lives, it can be harder than it seems.

How does being a servant win people to Christ? Being a servant makes us different in a dog-eat-dog and “me-first” world. A caring, giving heart stands out and makes an impact on people in our daily interactions with people wherever we are.

It is easy to care about our friends and family, but let’s pray together, “Father, help us to see people with the eyes of Jesus and love them like the servants we are called, even commanded, to be.

Please help me/us to remember this scripture in John 13: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Deb Hill

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