Acts 16:1–5 The Price of Being a Padawan

Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.” Acts 16:1–5

How far would you go to reach people for the Gospel? This passage introduces us to Timothy, who would become Paul’s right-hand man and whom Paul often spoke of like a son. Timothy’s eventual influence on the church was strong.

There was just one thing Timothy had to do at the beginning which, to be honest, makes most men cringe. Take a moment and Google the word “circumcise” to understand.

Paul took Timothy as a young protégé, but before they set out, he circumcised him, because the majority of people they’d be speaking to in the coming years were Jewish. Though still common today, being circumcised was mandatory for all Jewish men since Abraham. To meet them where they were, Paul wanted those traveling with him to be Jewish in every way.

Timothy said, “Yes,” regardless of his what his own opinions on the procedure might be, because it was important to spreading Jesus’ message. This was the beginning of many years traveling as a missionary with Paul to places around the known world where, under other circumstances, he might never have considered going.

To meet people where they are, we need to go without judgment, leaving our preconceptions of what a “life” should be like, in order to be open to who they are. When we talk about Jesus, what he’s done in our world, unless we can accept as valid other ways of life than that we’ve grown up with, our message runs the risk of sounding more like, “If you become like me, this can be your Good News” rather than “You are loved by the Creator of the universe as you are, and what He wants is a relationship with you.” This is, truly, the Gospel’s message.

I often wonder how far I would go if called. It’s a question we should ask ourselves, and also talk to God about. Perhaps our “calling” might simply be to join a team at our church more often, speak to more people we don’t know, or be more open about our faith with others. Or, it could be to travel to Thailand to share the Gospel. Whatever it is, Jesus knows our hearts and where we’d serve Him best, and has only the best plans for us in this life. (Jer 29:11) We simply have to say “yes” and trust that whatever steps of faith we take into the unknown, they will be good and pleasing to Him and work to build His kingdom, one act at a time.


Lord, thank you for the people who’ve come before, who said “yes” to whatever it took to share Your light with the rest of the world. Give us the courage to say the same if it is what You ask.