#DailyDevotion put aside your rights for the love of your neighbor
1 Cor. 916If I tell the good news, I have nothing to boast about. I must tell it. Woe to me if I don’t tell the good news! 17If I do it because I want to, I get a reward. But if I don’t want to do it, I still have this work entrusted to me. 18What then is my reward? Just this: When I tell the good news, I won’t let it cost anyone anything, and so I won’t take advantage of my right in telling the good news. 19Although I am free from all people, I made myself a slave of all of them to win more of them. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew to win Jews; to those under the Law I became like a man under the Law — although I’m not under the Law – to win those under the Law. 21To those who don’t have the Law I became like a man without the Law — although I’m not outside the Law of God but under the law of Christ — to win those who don’t have the Law. 22To weak persons I became weak to win the weak. I’ve been everything to everyone so that in every way I might save some of them.
Saint Paul here in chapter 9 continues the theme from chapter 8 that we need not use or in force our rights as Christians. You might remember from last week in chapter 8 where he said we shouldn’t use our knowledge to to hurt or harm our fellow Christian who may not have the same knowledge as we do. Well here he is giving A personal example of him not using all of his rights as an apostle.
Now Paul here talks about how he is compelled to preach the gospel the good news of Jesus Christ. As an apostle, he could use his authority to demand payment for preaching the gospel, to call people to serve him, into generally rule it over them. But that is not what he is called to do. Saint Paul is under the law of Christ. No doubt, many pastors feel the same way. We must preach the good news about Jesus the free gift of the forgiveness of sins we have in him. We must tell people that God has granted them to gift of eternal life when they put their faith in his son Jesus Christ. It’s simply the best good news ever. We don’t wan to see anyone condemned and go to hell. So we are compelled to preach.
Now Paul as an apostle, again doesn’t use his rights, but he set them aside in order that he may better serve the gospel of Jesus Christ. He becomes like Jews with the Jews, and like Gentiles with the Gentiles. He becomes willing to do anything through the law and under the law of Christ. What is this law of Christ? The law of Christ is the love your neighbor.
Now you might ask ourselves how might we best love our neighbor? To love our neighbor is to be like Christ. It is a sacrifice ourselves. Is it put aside our own interest for the interest of our neighbor. It is as Saint Paul says in Romans, that we think about ourselves less, and think more about what is best for the person standing in front of us. For this is what God in Christ Jesus has done for us. And he becoming man, suffering, and dying on the cross, so that we may be forgiven of our sins and inherit the kingdom of God, Jesus set aside his rights as Lord and God. Jesus’ disciples then trusting that he has done this for us, we can now do this for the person In front of us.
Heavenly father, give us your grace and Holy Spirit that we may follow Christ as his disciples, put aside our rights and demands, and live for the good of our neighbor. In Jesus‘ name we pray. Amen.