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Acts 16:1-5, Timothy Joins Paul and Silas

Thursday, April 26

Removing Barriers

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

breaking down barriers

Yesterday we talked about how Paul and Barnabas argued against circumcising Gentiles, stating that it was the work of Christ, not the work of humans that saved. I argued that expecting those in the LGBTQ community to conform to straight expectations would similarly put an unnecessary burden upon them and upon those who minister with them. 

Today we hear a story of Timothy, an uncircumcised Jew who took up the challenge of traveling with Paul and Silas to spread the good news of the risen Christ. Today, however, Paul did circumcise Timothy. Why? First, I can tell you why not. Paul did not circumcise Timothy because he changed his mind about circumcising Gentiles. He did not change his mind about that. (Nor should we change our minds about being welcoming to those who are different from us.) Timothy was 1/2 Jewish, and he was going to be ministering to Jews. In this case, if Timothy had remained uncircumcised, it would have become a barrier to his ministry. Like yesterday's reading, Timothy's circumcision removed an unnecessary burden from his ministry. 

All this shows that the things that become barriers for us differ person to person. What is right for one may not be right for another. So instead of regulating all of the particulars, we can look at the bigger picture -- how can we do more of what brings us closer to Christ? How can we minimize the barriers that separate us from Christ? 

Narrative Lectionary Text: Acts 16:1-5

Paul went on also to Derbe and to Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer; but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him; and he took him and had him circumcised because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they went from town to town, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in numbers daily.