For me, Paul's main point in this section is best summarized in verse 17: "However that may be, let each of you lead the life that the Lord has assigned, to which God called you..." It doesn't matter, Paul says, if you are married or unmarried, circumcised or uncircumcised, free or a slave. Regardless of your condition, your situation, or your status, what matters is that you live for God -- wherever you are.
Have you ever engaged in "if only" thinking?
"If only things were different, then I'd be able to..."
"If only I was more..."
"If only I could..."
"If only I had more..."
"If only things had been different..."
Once I believed that I had wasted my high school years living in a convent. ("If only I hadn't ..."). I never felt I did anything for God while I was there, that I'd been there for the wrong reasons. But then God reminded me of Stella.
Stella arrived at the convent in September, around 1968. It was her first year there. It was my third. Stella was very shy, but she and I became fast friends. One evening in early November, she received a phone call from her dad. Her mother had died suddenly, and Stella would fly home the next day. Because we were friends, she looked to me to voice her anger and confusion, she looked to me to understand her grief and her tears, she looked to me to pack her things when she called a week later saying she wouldn't be returning. I never saw Stella again; but God reminded me that I'd been there (in His place) when Stella needed someone to talk to, someone to listen, someone with whom to cry. I realized then that those years in the convent weren't wasted years after all, because God used me to be there for Stella.
Dear God, whatever our condition, whatever our situation, whatever our status, may we receive Your grace and bloom for You wherever we are planted. Amen.