Freedom to Flail

Read: 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. (v. 22)

Do you know what a flail is? It’s a primitive, hand-held device for threshing wheat—a staff, at the end of which is a free-swinging stick. The stick is connected to the staff with a short length of chain or leather. As the staff is moved up and down, the stick flops herky-jerky, this way and that, pounding the wheat and separating the grain from the chaff.

Paul was like a flail. He strove to be “all things to all people,” hoping that thereby he “might save some.” Paul would go anywhere, do anything, accommodating himself in all sorts of ways, to all sorts of people—Jew or Gentile, under the law or outside the law—that he might win to Christ as many as he could.

There are risks, for a church, in trying to be all things to all people. You can find yourself spread a mile wide and an inch deep, all periphery and no center. Still, give me a church where believers flail—going here and there, doing this and that, each of us in our own way striving to do God’s work. Some volunteer at the food pantry. Some teach Bible stories to children. Some join the work crew that renovates housing so folks in need will have a decent place to live. Many believers in many ways doing one thing—trying to win people to Christ. How are you involved in that effort? —Lou Lotz

As you pray, ask God to show you how you might best serve his kingdom.

About the Author

Lou Lotz

Rev. Lou Lotz is a recently retired Reformed Church pastor. Lou and his wife Mary Jean live in Hudsonville, Michigan.