(A final devotion by the chaplain of last summer’s CLC Convention
at ILC, Eau Claire. The general theme asked the question: “Who
When my family and I moved to Phoenix in the late ’80’s, we opened an account with a little bank on the street corner near our home. It was a nice place to do business. But then our friendly little bank was swallowed up by a bigger bank, and shortly afterwards by a still larger one. Things began to change. Employees were laid off and ATMs took their place. We were encouraged to conduct our business outside at the ATM, rather than speak to a real person inside the lobby. Finally, we were told that if we carried out too many transactions inside, we would be charged an extra fee.
Some say it’s symptomatic of a bigger societal problem–an uncaring, impersonal attitude toward the individual. No one cares. People see their jobs only in terms of what they can get out of them. Marriages, families, and friendships are spoiled because there is no concern for the other person, only what’s in it for “me.”
It’s easy for us to fall into that kind of mindset as individuals and as a church. We get caught up in our own personal wants and give the impression that we don’t care about anyone else.
But is that really who the Lord calls us to be: intolerant people concerned first and foremost with self? We get a much different picture when we look at St. Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 9:19: “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.”
Free To Be A Slave
Paul was a free man. He enjoyed the freedoms of a Roman citizen. But more than that, he reveled in the freedom which Christ gave him. Paul was free from the requirements and condemnation of the Law. He did not have to lug a heavy burden of guilt around while trying to earn God’s favor by keeping the commandments. He was free from all that because Christ fulfilled the Law for all and washed away guilt with His blood. Paul was free from the fear of death, for Christ crushed death by His own death and resurrection. The apostle was a free man in the best sense of the word!
He was so free through faith in Christ that he became a slave to everyone. Christ had given him forgiveness and life, and had set him free from selfish concerns. Now there was someone more important than self — the Lord Jesus. Christ’s will became Paul’s will. “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:20). And so Paul became a “people person.” He was genuinely interested in the lives of others. His life’s goal became ministering to the spiritual needs of people wherever he went.
God has made us the same kind of people. We have been called out of the world to be God’s own special creation, people who reflect His love in their relationships with everyone around them. Christ gives us the power and motivation to live as people who care.
My bank may never go back to its old personalized, friendly way of doing business. Our world may grow increasingly cold and uncaring. But the Lord has transformed us into different people, people who love and care because He first loved us.
May that love powerfully move us to put aside self in order to reach out to every single precious soul with the saving Gospel of Christ. May we always be people who care! Amen.
— Pastor Michael Eichstadt