“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. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”
– I Corinthians 9:19-23
In our Baptism, God calls us each to be a part of His mission in our daily lives and to step out to help others in His name. A fancy term for this is incarnational ministry. This refers to Christ’s incarnation, which is our belief that Christ came down from heaven to dwell with us bodily – to experience life as we do, to become one of us – so that he could take our place on the cross.
We can think of incarnational ministry as when we are God’s hands and feet wherever we go. In doing so, we become members of the community which they are serving. Paul explains this well in I Corinthians 9:19-23. Wherever we go, we try to care for people in a Christ like way. Paul became like the people he came to witness to, to relate to them and “speak their language.” We aren’t always able to do that well. It is hard to be “all things to all people” and truly the only way we can is through the Holy Spirit.
For some, this means literally going to “the ends of the earth” and moving to another country or continent and immersing themselves in another culture to be the hands and feet of Jesus there. They learn another language and culture just to share the Gospel. For others, it means actually getting to know their geographic neighbors and members of their community to share Christ there.
Even if God has not called you to serve internationally, you can still support those who he has called. This could be through a short-term trip designed to support a long-term missionary’s work in their community or through prayer and financial support.
No matter how God has called you to be a part of his mission, consider ways in which you can use “all possible means” to connect with people around you to help connect them to Christ.
- What are places near and far where you are God’s hands and feet?
- How might talking with different people mean you share God’s love differently with them?
Dear God, I thank you for calling me into your mission. Help me to use the gifts you have given me to serve others in my everyday life, in my community, and around the world. Be with those who have left their homes to serve others abroad. Amen.