The theme of the 2012 Minnesota South District Convention was “Free and Focused.” The theme verse was taken from 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. Take a read:
For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
Scattered among the official business of elections and resolutions we took time during the convention to study this passage. It was great. I would like to share with you some of the highlights from that study.
Real Freedom – Real Service – Real Salvation
Paul knows the freedom that we have in Christ. There is no law, no rule, no commandment that binds our consciences because Jesus has fulfilled the entire law by the blood of his sacrifice. That said, take a look at the rest of v.19. “19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. “ Paul doesn’t use his freedom for personal gain or even to stay indifferent. Paul sees his freedom as the perfect opportunity to serve. In fact, the Greek word used here commonly translates as “slave.” Now, why would Paul decide to burden himself when God has given him freedom? It’s because Paul truly believes that salvation exists through Jesus alone, and that Jesus is for everyone. Jesus is for the Jews, Jesus is for those “under the law,” and Jesus is for those “outside the law.” Paul uses his real freedom to conduct real service so that people might know the real salvation.
Focused – Flexible – On Fire
It doesn’t take much time reading Paul’s letters or studying his missionary journeys to find out the man was focused. What was his drive? What was his focus? We just saw it. “that I might win more of them.” Paul is singularly focused upon communicating the truth of forgiveness and life eternal through Jesus’ death and resurrection. The challenge was that there were so many different types of people in each place. So, Paul learned to be extremely flexible as he earn the right to share Jesus with all these different people. In order to do that, he had to not only understand where they were coming from, but to a certain extent, live it. Even though he was not totally a “Jew” or “under the law” or “outside the law” Paul found a way to relate to them so that the message could be accurately sent and readily heard. That’s hard work. It takes courage, passion and dedication.
Yes, the official business of the Minnesota South District of the LC-MS was accomplished over the weekend of June 14-16, 2012. I’m just so glad we also had the chance to study the scriptures together and be reminded of our freedom in Christ and our focus to share it.