"I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some." - 1 Corinthians 9:22
This explanation by Paul has often confused me. It seems like he was not being authentic (or maybe even manipulative?) by changing the way he acted in order to influence people for the gospel. But the longer I live in community and the more life circumstances I go through, the more I think I understand what he is talking about.
It helps if I look at this message in light of community and everything it can be. What I need from community today is different from what I needed 10 or 20 years ago. When I was in high school dealing with the death of my dad, I needed my community to listen to me rage against God and love me anyway. When my children were younger, my wife and I needed people to watch them for us and to listen to us when we wondered how to parent them. Today our needs are different still. The same could be said of everyone who has shared their story here this month. A year from now or even a month from now, they might describe community differently.
A Christian community, serving with the grace of Jesus Christ, can be all things to all people. For those who are hurting, it can come and cry alongside. For people who are rejoicing, it can celebrate. It can offer so much because it is so deep. It is ever changing to reflect who God is in the ever-changing world around us. Whatever you are in need of today, the community of God’s people is there to be Christ for you.