The Perfect Evangelist

A reading for Thursday, April 28, 2016: 1 Corinthians 9:19-27.

The Apostle Paul was the perfect evangelist. Perhaps not for the reasons we normally consider... Paul was both Jew and Greek, having been raised in the city of Tarshish but schooled with Gamaliel in Jerusalem. He was fluent in all the languages of the day, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Aramaic which meant he could openly converse with all manner of travelers and cultures. He was educated to read and to write, certainly unusual in the ancient world. Lastly, he was a Roman citizen able to travel openly and freely from place to place across the Roman world without fear of enslavement or conscription. His resume was perfect to share faith, and yet this is not the reason he was the perfect evangelist.

The reason for his success was in that Paul was humble enough to enter into the everyday common life of all he encountered. He did not hold his credentials above the heads and hearts of others, he entered into their world as one of them. He became all things to all people, not as a means of compromising his values or his beliefs, but so he could understand the lives of those he was among. With such an understanding then Paul was able to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them in a manner that was relevant and true.

How can we know what the gospel looks like for others if we do not understand their lives? What are their joys and their struggles, their fears and their confidence? The evangelist today must still act as Paul did in the ancient world. We are called to share faith with those we live among as neighbors and friends.

Paul knew that he must be all things to all people in order to enter their world and proclaim the gospel. "I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings."


Popular Posts