I have been a Cubs fan for over 50 years. Some of my first memories were coming home from school to watch the Cubs finish playing a game. After all that frustration, this year has been fun, so far. I had the chance to read an article about the architect of the Cubs team, Theo Epstein. In the description of Epstein the article says that, among other things, he can talk Nantucket real estate with millionaires, yachts with billionaires, and reality shows with interns. He not only knows how to connect with people, he enjoys it.
Paul had this way of relating to people also. “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-22)
As a Cubs fan, I have been waiting for a World Series victory all my life and so I enjoy reading about Theo Epstein’s journey. At the same time, though, I am under no illusions that it must happen. Many of my friends tease me noting that a Cubs World Series appearance itself might be a sign of the apocalypse. They may be right! If so, I have to ask myself which is more important: A Cubs victory in the World Series or the Second Coming of Jesus? Many would question my credentials as a true Cubs fan for saying this, but I’d give up seeing the Cubs win the World Series if it meant that Jesus was returning. That being said, what becomes important in life? Paul puts it to a tee: “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” Obviously Paul realized that salvation comes through Jesus Christ; the key here is to realize that Paul’s agenda was to share the gospel but his method depended on the person he is with. He would establish and build relationships with others and show them how Jesus could meet their deepest need or calm their greatest fear.
If I know what I’m going to tell a person word for word about Jesus before I even meet them, I am missing out. I am missing out on getting to know them; I am missing out on building a relationship with them; I am missing out on the opportunity to show them how Jesus can care for them at their level of need. Just as Paul became vulnerable with the people he came into contact with so that he could share in the joy of giving them the gospel, I need to be able to be vulnerable in developing relationships with others so that I can share in the gospel. Gone are the days that I can deliver a canned message of salvation and then react to a non-committal by congratulating myself that “he may not have gotten saved, but he sure got told.” Jesus reached out and met people at their point of need and I can do no less. I may not be able to talk Nantucket real estate, yachts, or even reality shows, but I can find ways to meet people at the point of their need so that I can share the gospel with them. Everyone has needs and desires. Deep down in their hearts, most people are searching for God. They may not realize it, but they are seeking significance that can only be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. The only way that I will be able to share the good news with them is if I get to know and build a relationship with them.
Lord, remind Remind me that even when everything seems ok, deep down, people are searching for You. Give me the wisdom to build strong relationships and share Your love with others.