Thoughts from the Sycomore’s weekly reading of Acts…
16 Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. 2 The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
When I came to the US, though I was only 7 years old, the shock of entering into a brand new culture was no less overwhelming. It was challenging enough trying to figure out who I was as a 7 year old. Being the only other Asian in my elementary school and living in a neighborhood with Greeks to the left of me, Italians to the right of me, Latinos behind me, and everyone else in front of me had me utterly confused about my identity—let alone my worth. I learned that I was a Korean American. But I realized later that I was actually an American Korean—as in a Korean (noun) who is described as an American (adjective). LOST is a good word to describe my adolescence. Actually, that’s a good word to describe myself until I was 23 when I finally embraced Jesus into my life. The evening that I was “found,” was the same evening that I discovered my identity—as a child of God. I was now a citizen of Heaven.
Timothy is described as a child of a Jewish mother and Greek father. I imagine that his struggle with his identity was just as real. The tension in his heart and soul with his identity, however, wasn’t just cultural. It was spiritual as well. His mother is described as a believer while his father is not. The Bible doesn’t say what his home life may have been like, but we can use our imagination. Actually, some of us don’t have to because that tension is very real in our lives. Though Timothy’s mother (and grandmother) clearly had a great influence on him, it’s not hard to imagine the impact that his “unbelieving” father may have had on him as well (maybe the cause of his “timidity? Just speculation!). At the end of the day though, no matter what his father may have said or for that matter what his mother or grandmother may have said regarding Jesus, Timothy had choose or recognize for himself that he too was a child of God as well. He had to discover his own identity and worth in Christ. We can create the best family environment for our children to come to Jesus. However, no parent can choose Jesus for them. It’s a personal decision. That’s actually a good thing—because, in the same way, we cannot prevent them from choosing Jesus as well. For those of us who know Jesus, I pray that we represent Him well to our children. And for those of us who know people in “multi-spiritual” family settings, continue to pray for them because when it comes to Jesus, there’s always hope. #desiringGod2017