SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Paul begins by explaining that full time ministers deserve to be paid for their work, just like any other worker. He then states that, although this is true, he has ministered for free.
- Paul explains, in verses 19-23, that he has "become all things to all people so that by all possible means" he might save some. The idea is that by trying to connect with people where they are, in a way that makes sense to them, they will hopefully be led to Jesus.
- Paul then concludes with an Olympic marathon illustration. He says that in the same way they focus on winning a medal, we need to focus on living a life that will lead to a "crown that will last forever." That crown may refer to getting to be with God forever in Heaven, or to the recognition we'll get from God in Heaven for the work we did on Earth.
- We need to "become all things to all people so that by all possible means" we might lead some to Jesus. Instead of focusing on our differences with people who are far from God, we need to focus on what we have in common, and use it to build a relationship. Within that relationship, we need to look for opportunities to graciously talk about our faith and share Jesus.
- We need to put our focused effort into our spiritual training so we truly live for God, not "be disqualified for the prize," and make sure we "get a crown that will last forever.
- Who has God put in your life who does not know Him? What do you have in common with that person that would help you build a relationship? Maybe you both have kids, or have a similar hobby, or enjoy working out? How can you use that to deepen your relationship? And given the opportunity, how will you share your faith with them?
- What is your "training regimen" for growing spiritually? Does it include reading the Bible everyday? Praying everyday? Volunteering at church? Being in a Verve Group? What else? How much focus and time and effort do you put into it? And, since it's so important, should you make it a higher priority?