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  • Allison Wilcox

Stumbling Block

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. ~ Acts 16:1-5



This brief little aside has always been striking for me.

We just went through a whole big to-do with the new church about making sure that new Gentiles did not have to be circumcised. Paul has been instrumental in bringing that about.

Yet what is the first thing he does as he calls a new disciple to work with him on the journey?

Have him circumcised.

Aside from trying to imagine Timothy's willingness to undergo this procedure as an adult, it's something to wonder about given the entire conversation that took place in the church.

Yet look at Paul's reasoning. He has Timothy circumcised because of the Jews in the area. For the Jewish population, having Timothy not circumcised is going to be a stumbling block. People aren't going to listen to the good news if they can't get past it.

It makes me wonder what stumbling blocks the church has for those in our communities who have not yet found the meaningful presence of a community of faith in their life.

What is it that we do or say that might be preventing the good news from getting out to the world around us?

Lord, help me not to get in the way of your good news getting to the world! Amen

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