First recorded in the Middle English Controversial Tracts of John Wyclif in 1380, the phrase that titles today’s devotional means, as you might conclude, something along the lines of “by any means necessary.” While it perfectly summarizes Paul’s strategy for ensuring that “Christ is preached,” it also presents us with some challenging things to think about when we consider what it might look like to adopt this same perspective and goal for “getting the word out.”

I have two thoughts I’d like to submit for consideration. First, and I don’t want to go too far with this, we are a people who put a lot of weight on motives. Sometimes we’ll argue that why someone does something is more important than what someone does. These verses raise the question, “Is it?”, because Paul throws a lot of cold water on that line of thinking. And so, while correctly assessing motives, he essentially says he doesn’t care. It only matters that Christ is preached, by “any means necessary”, “by hook or by crook”. Paul cares that the message is accurate, not that the heart is right.

I have to ask, “What do you think about that?”

The second thought I have has to do with answering the question, “How can we continue to grow more like Paul and share his desire to see the gospel preached, even at our own expense?”

How would you answer that?

It seems the best response would be to pray God continues to build us into men and women more concerned about the message getting out than about the motives of the messenger or the personal costs we might incur. We know Paul was a guy who was “all in.” We know he was willing to die for Christ and the message of the gospel. It wasn’t like he was willing to sacrifice his life as long as people’s hearts were in the right place as they preached. He wasn’t willing to sacrifice his life for the why but for the what. And herein lies the prayer, perhaps – that our passion for the what would supersede our concern for the why.

Something to think about as you go about your day. God bless and I’ll see you along the way.

Scott Smith
Care Pastor

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