I Corinthians 9:19-23
Although I’m free from all people, I make myself a slave to all people, to recruit more of them. I act like a Jew to the Jews, so I can recruit Jews. I act like I’m under the Law to those under the Law, so I can recruit those who are under the Law (though I myself am not under the Law). I act like I’m outside the Law to those who are outside the Law, so I can recruit those outside the Law (though I’m not outside the law of God but rather under the law of Christ). I act weak to the weak, so I can recruit the weak. I have become all things to all people, so I could save some by all possible means. All the things I do are for the sake of the gospel, so I can be a partner with it.
Pastoral excellence is something all pastors should strive for, yet never feeling like we have finally arrived. To be the best we can be for the sake of being a servant of Jesus Christ is a humbling task. We long to meet the needs of “the least of these” in our society, but many times that category of people are viewed from a physical point of view when, if viewed from a spiritual point of view, we are all representative. We are all “the least of these” without Christ.
I lived briefly among the homeless, on the streets of Clarksville, Tennessee, in my effort to offer Christ to a hurting world. What I learned was that we are all pretty much the same. We want to love, we want to be loved, and we all need Jesus.
I pray daily that the Lord would grant me wisdom, knowledge and understanding to be able to share the good news of Jesus Christ with as many people as possible. To do this I must be willing to become all things to all people in order to reach some.
A pastor who strives for excellence is a pastor who is humble enough to know that, without Christ, he or she is nothing. To be truly excellent, one must pray to be an instrument of the Lord’s, to share His peace with hurting people, to become Christ in the world. Daily, as we are willing to be used by the Lord to do His work, we may find ourselves outside of our comfort zone. It is then that we are walking in the footprints of Jesus.
Father, teach us today to look for those who are hurting and allow us to give them the hope, love and joy that comes, not from this world, but from a life of serving and following you. In Jesus’ Christ name we pray. AMEN.
The Rev. Willie Lyle Spiritual Formation Team, Tennessee Conference