All Things for All! – Week of February 15, 2021

I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

1 Corinthians 9: 22b-23

Home visits and parent orientations are always exciting. You’re getting ready to start a new year or a child is about to join your classroom for the first time. But there can be some anxiety, too, as teachers get confronted with ideas from families of all backgrounds and opinions.

The writer of our verses today, Paul, was no stranger to handling such things. Throughout his ministry, he worked with people of a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and ideologies. How did Paul handle such a challenge? Our verses tell us that Paul “became all things to all people.” Why? So that through the good news about Jesus, he “might save some.” God had given Paul a heart that was so excited to share about Jesus that he was willing to do almost anything (without changing God’s message) to do just that.

God has given us hearts to share the love of Jesus, too. But sometimes our perceptions can make that a struggle. We see parents’ practices and thoughts about eating, sleeping, toilet-training, academic learning, etc. and it can be a challenge to meet them where they’re at!

That’s when Paul’s words and Jesus’ ultimate carrying out of those words can help us pause. How perfectly Jesus carried out these words for us! The way we (and all people) thought and did things couldn’t have been further from what God had intended when he first created this world. Yet Jesus left his glorious home in heaven and literally became one of us. He preached to people of all backgrounds, to people who agreed with his words and violently disagreed. Then he reached his final goal: becoming the sacrifice for all people, so that through giving his life on the cross he might not only save some, but all!

This love makes our hearts desire to be all things to others, too. We look at the mom who grew up in a different culture, and we seek to understand and build a relationship with her, so that maybe the good news about Jesus can be shared. We listen to the parents concerned about their child’s academic growth, and we look for opportunities to encourage their family in the most important growth of all, growth in the knowledge of their Savior.

Our efforts to be all things to all people will only bear fruit as God wills, but when they do, Paul reminds us that we, too, will get to share in the blessings. What better blessing than to witness another soul knowing Jesus!

Jesus, how often we have looked down upon others who are different from ourselves! Forgive us! In your grace, you became everything to all people so that we could be saved. Help us to find ways to be all things to those around us so that we might share the ultimate blessing of the hope of heaven with them. In your name we ask this, amen.

A Question to Consider:
Identify one family in your setting who might be able to use some extra consideration and understanding from your staff.  What could that support look like?  What deliberate steps could you take to build that relationship so that the gospel can be shared?

Early Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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