top of page

Be All Things

By Guest Writer: Janelle John-Bates

Recently my husband and I had the misfortune of being in a minor road accident. Due to the damage to our vehicle, we had to call a wrecker to be towed home. During the drive home I observed the tow truck driver’s scruffy appearance, coarse vernacular and aggressive driving. On a subconscious level I concluded that I had nothing in common with him and was inclined to engage in muted discussions with my husband only.

But then I heard it - “Be all things to all men”. This catchphrase is derived from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians in which he described how he adapted his behaviour to suit those to whom he evangelised.

In 1 Corinthians 9:19, Paul writes

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law…to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some”.

Paul recognised that he was called to spread the gospel to all people, including those who may not look like him, belong to the same religious sect or share the same values. In order to win them over for Christ, he had to become like them. Becoming like another, of course, does not mean we should engage in any activity that is a clear violation of God’s commandments. We can however adjust our clothing and speech, engage in different cultural practices or show interest in the things that another likes, if it would help us spread God’s love and salvation with them.

I believe Jesus adopted this approach in his ministry. After all, He often ate and associated with prostitutes, tax collectors and sinners. Tax collectors were among the most reviled in Jewish society because they worked for the Roman empire and often became rich by imposing arbitrary and oppressive taxes on other citizens. In fact, tax collectors were excommunicated from the synagogues. Religious leaders of his time questioned Jesus’ proclivity to associate with sinners. Jesus however, understood that it was his responsibility to call sinners such as those to repentance and He understood that engaging in the very human act of breaking bread with them would endear Him to them.

It is very unlikely that Jesus spent his entire time speaking to these outcasts of the scriptures. So, what did they talk about? What form of entertainment did they partake in after eating? What could a “carpenter turned preacher” have in common with those labelled as reprobates? I do not know the answer to those questions but I am confident that Jesus would have engaged with them on their level without compromising his Heavenly Father’s commandments.

With the rebuke ringing loudly in my ears, how could I “be all things” to the tow truck driver? Happily, I found that we had similar tastes in music. I spent a portion of the trip home singing along with the driver to his playlist. I also engaged him in a discussion about his work as a tow truck driver and I found his responses to be hilarious and relatable. I did not get an opportunity to talk to him about the Bible but I do hope if nothing else, our interaction would make his professed general dislike for people, less profound.

By Janelle John-Bates

I hope that you enjoyed this week's delivery from our guest writer and if you like my content, then go ahead and subscribe so that you can receive email notifications of new posts, and of course, share the LOve, EnCouragement and Support by forwarding it to a friend.

Also, if you have written an inspirational piece and don't mind sharing it with the world, then reach out to me, and be part of the Imani movement to share L.E.S with the world.

Love Ya!

Krystal Baynes-Hoseinee

FOLLOW me on:


75 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page