"For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more." (1 Corinthians 9:19)
How radical. It takes time to come into your own in this world. Taking a naturalist, inductive approach to the world at large, it looks like we have only the auspices of our homeland in which to wade around. Yes, the sea of humanity waits right outside the shore but many of us (I think) would rather be associated with a smaller body of water than remain a lowly drop in an endless sea. Point is, as I had strayed way off into analogy there for a moment, without God, we are hard-pressed to find any real way to feel like an individual without the groups from whom we take inspiration and life-affirmation.
Paul opens the ninth chapter with a quick run-through of his calling and qualifications in God. He then testifies to the spiritual logic of having one's needs met through their work in the gospel. He then brushes it all aside and says that he did it for God, for its own sake. He even turns it on its head and says that while he was called to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, it's something he has to do whether he likes it or not. Though the reward awaits when done in the spirit of the former.
Verses 19 through 22 delineate several groups of people he was called to "infiltrate", for lack of a better term. He then says "I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means gain some." He says "And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you." Paul has been to the deep end and back and chooses to associate with any and everyone God leads him to. He has great care for the Body and people in general.
"O Lord, how manifold are Thy works! In wisdom hast Thou made them all: the earth is full of Thy riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable." (Psalm 104:24-25)
In Grammar it's called the enallage. It's pronounced the same way as "analogy" and while its meaning may be similar, it simply refers to the substitution of the individual particle for the more-inclusive. While it sounds exclusive when used incorrectly, in relation to the Body of Christ, as we are all "members one of another" (Romans 12:5), it fits.
Paul continues in verse 24 and 25: "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown: but we an incorruptible."
When he says "but one receiveth the prize", we are one. The worldwide church is made up of the most radically varied and different character types the world over. But our hearts are all like Jesus'. This is what makes us one.
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:9)
Wherever you find yourself. You may be part of the warp and woof of a small but fast-growing church. You may feel like a nobody amidst the masses of a giant congregation. Or you may not even attend for reasons between you and God. The world is a big place and "where two or three are gathered together in [Jesus'] name", He's there with you (Matthew 18:20). As one of God's kids, a crown awaits. You may not feel it but that doesn't matter. We're gonna cast them before the feet of Jesus anyway.