In this verse, the apostle Paul addresses the believers in Corinth, advising them to remain in the position or role in which they were called. It speaks to the idea of contentment and finding fulfillment in one's present circumstances, rather than constantly seeking to change or escape them.
The verse begins with the instruction, "Let each man stay." This implies that believers should not hastily or impulsively change their current situations. Paul encourages them to carefully consider their circumstances and, if possible, find contentment and purpose within them.
Paul emphasizes the importance of staying in "that calling in which he was called." This refers to the various roles, occupations, and social positions individuals found themselves in at the time of their conversion or calling to faith in Christ. Whether one was a slave, a free person, married, or unmarried, Paul encourages believers to remain in their current state and honor God through it.
This instruction has both practical and spiritual implications. Practically, it suggests that believers should not feel compelled to change their social status or occupation immediately upon becoming followers of Christ. Instead, they should strive to serve God faithfully in their existing circumstances and make a positive impact within their sphere of influence.
Spiritually, the verse teaches contentment and the recognition that one's calling and purpose can be fulfilled in various contexts. It challenges the notion that certain roles or positions are more valuable or spiritual than others. Each individual is called to serve and honor God wherever they find themselves.
Paul's words align with the broader theme of contentment found throughout his writings. In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul declares, "I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content... I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Here, he emphasizes that contentment is possible through reliance on Christ's strength, regardless of the circumstances.
1 Corinthians 7:20 encourages believers to avoid discontentment, envy, or a constant desire for change. It fosters an attitude of gratitude and faithful stewardship of the opportunities and responsibilities within one's current calling. It encourages believers to seek ways to honor God and serve others within their present situation, rather than always looking for something different.
It is essential to note that this verse should not be interpreted as a justification for enduring oppressive or unjust situations. The Bible consistently upholds justice and advocates for the well-being of all individuals. Paul's instruction in this verse pertains to the general circumstances of believers' lives, where no moral or ethical concerns are present.
In summary, 1 Corinthians 7:20 calls believers to find contentment in their current calling or circumstances. It encourages them to honor God and serve others faithfully, regardless of their social status or occupation. Rather than constantly seeking change or envying different roles, believers are reminded to be grateful and purposeful in their present situation, recognizing that their calling can be fulfilled and impactful in various contexts. This verse promotes contentment, faithful stewardship, and the recognition that our value and purpose lie in our commitment to God, not solely in our external circumstances.
1 Corinthians 7:20. Let each man stay in that calling in which he was called.