“When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22 NLT)
I have often read criticisms of Christians in general and the Church of England in particular, that they (we/I) are too liberal. Too wishy washy. Too anxious to please. Too ready to sell their beliefs to please others. That they will say anything to be liked.
Well Paul is telling us here to do just that! In this chapter he says that when he is with Jews, he will follow their law. When he is with Gentiles, he will follow THEIR law. Always following the will of Christ, of course, but doing what the locals expect.
The purpose is to win the hearts and minds of those whom he is with. And then, having won their trust, he tells them all about Jesus.
Most of his listeners will ignore his Good News and return to their familiar ways. But some will follow. Some will want to hear more. Some will join.
And it is those few people that make it worth while.
Paul is telling Christians to go out and engage with people on their own terms. And only then start to tell them about Jesus.