We are a nation full of people who insist on our rights. That is why we have so many people suing each other. We feel that we are entitled to be treated in certain ways and when people do not treat us in that way we try and force them to do so, or at least punish them for their failure to treat us properly. This sense of entitlement is even woven into the spirit of our country. The Declaration of Independence speaks of certain “inalienable rights” that we are endowed with by our Creator.
This is not quite the way Paul speaks. In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul speaks of how he gave up his rights for the sake of the gospel. He does not deny that he has the rights, but when he can advance the gospel by gladly surrendering those rights he freely chooses to do so. He says, “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 might share with them in its blessings.” (v.22-23) Without insisting on his rights Paul accommodates himself to those he seeks to serve so that it might be easier for them to embrace the gospel. Think about the situations you might find yourself in today. In what ways can you surrender your rights in order to help someone come to know Jesus better?