Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek. And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
Mentoring is a wonderful thing for both sides. Yet, mentoring is a great sacrifice for both. Nowadays the sacrifice is usually time or money, which is cheap compared to oppression, persecution or pain. Mentoring is a relationship that often grows strong and can become stronger than a parent/child relationship, which is one of the reasons why it is important to prayerfully mentor your children. This relationship can also bring much emotional and spiritual pain when the relationship is cut off or dismissed. We saw that in Paul’s life with John Mark, Barnabas’s nephew. Many of us have experienced that ourselves….I sure have.
Paul and Silas made their way around Syria and Cilicia to the city of Derbe. They heard of a godly young man whose reputation and testimony was admired and commended. His name was Timothy. Scholars say that Timothy was either late teens or early 20’s when he met Paul. Paul desired Timothy to travel with him and Silas; however, there was a problem. Timothy’s mother was Jewish but his father was Greek, and everyone knew it. Greek men were known to forbid circumcision of their male children because they believed that it was barbaric. During the Seleucid dynasty, a Greek Hellenistic society during 312 BC to 63 BC, males of all ages where killed for being circumcised. This slaughter undoubtedly affected the Greek’s thoughts about circumcision for many years.
II Timothy 1:5 gives us a clue that Timothy was brought up in the faith because of the strong faith of his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice. Praise the Lord for the influence of godly women! Even though the church leaders had already announced that circumcision was not an issue anymore, there was still a large prejudice among the church (imagine that =). To remove that prejudice, Paul circumcised Timothy (apparently it was a common thing to know how to do). This meant that Timothy, as a strong young man, had to submit to this painful ritual in order to be able to minister effectively to the Jewish believers. Circumcision as a young man is not quite like circumcision as a baby. The recovery period is much longer, and the pain is much greater. This was a great sacrifice on Timothy’s part and his sacrifice gained the respect of every Jewish male. Timothy’s ministry was off to a great start.
Sometimes we have to sacrifice our own privileges or comforts in order to minister to others. Most of us have not been asked to sacrifice much, yet some have sacrificed greatly for God’s work. The question is…are you willing to sacrifice everything for God? God is not unreasonable, yet He is looking for believers who are willing to put aside their own rights in order to minister His grace to others…and the blessings are beyond the cost. Are you willing to sacrifice?
Written by Kaye Dee Richards. Kaye Dee lives with her husband Colin in Morrison, CO. They have 4 children, Joshua, Amelia, Victoria, and Julia.
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