How Far Would I Go?
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. Acts 16:3
An addict once told me that he felt God wanted him to share his faith with some of his addicted friends. He’s been sober, but to gain their trust, he felt he had to use drugs with them. In his mind, he sacrificed his sobriety for those guys. In his relapse, he ended up in jail, which is where I met him.
I think it’s safe to say that this inmate confused God’s will with his own will (God doesn’t ask us to sin for him). Still, the question I have to ask, is, How far would I go to help someone find faith and recovery. Every morning, I pray, asking God to intervene in the lives of those I know to still be addicted. God has been teaching me that I am at least a part of his plan. I really hope I’m not God’s only plan, but I’m at least a part of it.
Often though, when I feel God’s nudge to get involved, I find it inconvenient. I’m willing to give my time to go to the jail or treatment center, but when the addict shows up in my life, I’m less enthusiastic. Hey God, I already served this week. I like to keep my ministry time and my family time separate. I’ll give, as long as it doesn’t cost me too much.
Today’s passage shows how far some of those in the early church went to spread the gospel. In the story, the Council of Jerusalem decided that gentile converts to Christianity wouldn’t be required to undergo circumcision. When Timothy, who was part Jewish, entered the ministry though, he voluntarily had himself circumcised, simply for street credibility with his fellow Jews. Timothy didn’t have to do this to find salvation. He did it because he was more dedicated to reaching the lost for Christ than he was to his own interests. That is radical commitment.
The question for me again is, How far would I go to help those I know to be struggling? God isn’t asking me to cut off body parts. He is though, asking me to give of my time, money, and love to reach out to those around me. I’m not responsible for the outcome, but I am responsible for my own obedience.