To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
Today was my first morning of the bite-by-bite approach I am taking to my daily time in Scripture. I have been in the church epistles a lot lately, so I started where I had been, in 1 Corinthians chapter 9. I think that I will meander slowly through this section of the New Testament, cross referencing when I have time, and because I enjoy it, but will focus mainly on the literal instructions that Paul gives the believers on living out the redeemed life, and then spend time examining myself for things I need to change, and ways I can put it into practice.
The first part of verse 22 caught my attention, so this is where I stopped for today.
I thought about what it means to be weak . . . who is weak . . . when am I weak . . . how can I become weak to reach the weak?
My first thought was of how much I avoid appearing weak, how little tolerance I have for weakness in others.
Then I tried to think of an example of a person who I would describe as weak, and my first thought was of my children. I thought about how much I LOVE them . . . and how carefully I try to teach them; how patiently I wait for them to grow before I expect them to understand; how tenderly I try to lead them; how gently I admonish them. How little I expect of them because they are, of course, so "weak." I thought of how I get on my knees to be at their level when I speak to them, and eagerly I try to see the world through their eyes; how I try to be careful to observe their unique make-up, to begin even now to understand their strengths and weaknesses so I can encourage them and help them; how deeply I care about their little souls and how much I long to see them grow to love Jesus.
And I felt myself immediately convicted, for I do not demonstrate this depth of compassion for my brothers and sisters who are still babes in the church.
Nor do I spend so much effort diligently cultivating relationships with "weak" people. People with issues. People who are scary or offensive. People who are annoying or lazy. Do I become weak so that I can see the world through their eyes? Do I take the time . . . endless amounts of time . . . to understand their weakness? Why they are the way they are? Do I ever even find myself in the neighborhoods of the weak?
And if I were to be weak, what would it look like? How would my church family perceive me?
Where would I have to go to become weak, that I might reach the weak?
How can I begin living a life that is compassionately, determinedly, patiently . . . weak?
I wonder if I could spend the entire year just attempting to live out this one verse?