For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He? 10 Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops.
-- 1 Corinthians 9:9-10
Paul understands the desire of the heart of some people lost in sin, but hoping against all vain hope that there will be a place for them. Knowing they have no right, knowing that to even hope is to show disrespect for those who are more deserving then that poor person who is almost beyond hope. Paul wants to reach down and give them a taste of what hope is, to see that Jesus, is the founder and giver of hope and love and mercy for the downtrodden. It is why he said he would be weak for those who are weak and he would be all things to all people if by some chance save some. We can be that to others also, a giver of mercy and a offer giver of the olive branch. We can say, “Let me reach out to you in love so you don’t have to reach so far.”
Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?
-- 1 Corinthians 9:1
Paul is laying out his defence for his right to call the church to have his say in the way things are done. He was the disciple that brought the gospel to them and now others are leading the church away from a true worship of Jesus. In other places he said, if another apostle or an angel brings you another gospel other then the one you received, don’t accept it. He understood how easy it is to accept a false theology if you are not careful, and then his work would be wasted. He is only talking about the most basic gospel, one that could be said in one sentence, but one they all knew. He wanted them to judge all messages that came to them by this simple gospel. When we bring the gospel, it is important that we also don’t let the simple truth be buried under other things that change it from the sacrifice of Jesus and a risen Saviour.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
-- Matthew 7:7-8
The passage from Matthew 5 was about letting your light shine, being a missionary, doing things that would have people glorify God, and they will only do that if they know who he is. Doing this is not easy for some people, and almost impossible for others, but the great commission was for all Christians, so hard isn’t an excuse. The answer is pray for the ability to do it, and don’t say, “If I can’t do it well, I don’t want to do it at all.” Accept that it may never be comfortable or easy, but also know that God can use a witness that is a little or a lot rough around the edges. It isn’t up to us to change a person’s life with our words, that is the job of the Holy Spirit. Doing it is more about obeying and loving people enough to do the thing that is hardest for you, so they get to hear it.