For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a SERVANT TO ALL, that I might win the more; 1 Corinthians 9:19
I know I am not alone in the fact that I tend to live my life with my needs being the #1 priority. I, like most people have a desire to take care of my family and make sure that they have the things they need, but sometimes it can be an inconvenience when my main focus is on my own activities. It is a control issue for sure and in the past I have become disappointed when others did not do the things that fit into my plans and my agenda. As I write this out, I can see how selfish that attitude is and I want to get far away from it. However, this habit resurfaces from time to time because everywhere I go, there I am and so once again, “I” step into first place.
I also have a tendency to draw back from new relationships because of past hurts. Even though I encounter new potentials to connect with others, I keep my heart guarded because I might be let down or even worse, taken advantage of. So, once again, I become the focus of my efforts and relationships.
What would happen if I put others first? What would my life look like if I prioritized people instead of activities and duties? How would my heart and life be different if my main objective was to bless people and serve then in any way I can? This would be very risky, right? I would be taking a chance that I would not be hurt or mistreated in some way. How could I be sure that wouldn’t happen? I would be depending on others not to do me wrong, or would I?
In today’s verse, Paul says that he makes himself the servant to all and the reason is so he will win more to Jesus. He goes on to talk about all the different groups of people that he spends time with and how he lives life on their level. He wants to be relatable and not give others the impression that he is super spiritual and not affected by disappointments and troubles in life.
Now, what does it really mean to be the servant to all? Becoming a servant to all will require humility. I don’t mean you will be humiliated; I am talking about humbling yourself. When you put on humility and serve others, you are looking out for what they need and how you can help their cause. I don’t mean that you have to take on everyone’s problems and burdens or projects and priorities. I am simply saying that you pay attention to what others are going through or working on and if you see a way you can be helpful, do it. It may require some time and resources once in a while, but mostly it will just let people know you notice them and what they are going through.
Over all, people will be thankful and appreciate that you took time to help. There may be some that will try to take advantage of you, but this is the best part . . . they are not in control, you are. When some people see your acts of serving and kindness, they may try to pull on you for more, but you are the one that has the ability to say this is the most or best I can do right now. You can pray with them or set up a time later on to meet to encourage them, but you are the one who determines where the limits and boundaries are.
Simply put: When you love others and have compassion on them, you will want to help them out where you can. You don’t have to wonder if you are going to be hurt or let down. Just don’t expect anything in return, and you will never be disappointed. It is when we put our hope in others and think that we are going to benefit in some way that we can be emotionally wounded. Make the decision that you are going to love and serve others to bring them closer to Jesus and that is all the reward and recognition that you are looking for.
Today I want to encourage you to become the servant to all. Put aside your concerns of letting the wrong people get close to you. Do not look at every relationship as what you can get out of it. Instead flip that perspective to see connections by what you can contribute and help with. When you make yourself alert to notice others, you are the one pursuing and people become your target to be hit with God’s blessings! Then those blessings will fill your life in the form of satisfaction that you are making a difference and impacting the world around you.
Today’s scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 9:19-23