Paul Selects Timothy
Open Your Bible
Acts 15:36-41, Acts 16:1-15, John 15:26, 1 Corinthians 9:19-21
BY Erin Davis
If you are in Christ, you have been chosen.
Chosen for a mission of supernatural significance (Matthew 28:19–20).
Chosen to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).
Chosen to be a living epistle, written on the hearts of man (2Corinthians 3:2).
Chosen as a beacon of bright light in the darkness (Matthew 5:14).
Chosen for a privilege you could never earn and do not deserve—to be on co-mission with Christ for the spread of the gospel and the glory of God. As we park in Acts 15–16, Timothy is our mascot for this truth. He was a part of something truly remarkable, a movement of God’s Spirit unlike anything the world had seen before. With his own eyes Timothy saw sinners become saints in droves. He saw churches being formed where there had never been churches before. He saw believers growing in strength and power in a culture determined to weaken them. He saw the fruit of a harvest of souls grow so rapidly he could measure the change day by day (Acts 16:5).
Timothy didn’t earn the right to be used by God in this way. It was mercy, not merit.
His position was preceded by a “sharp disagreement” between Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:39). How’s that for starting off on the wrong foot? He was half Jewish with a momma who could no longer fit within the religious establishment. He was half Greek in an era when Gentiles were just discovering the door to the kingdom was open to them. Paul attempted to bridge the gap with a ritual to appease some, but likely just placed a bigger magnifying glass on the fact that Timothy didn’t fit into the expectations of others (Acts 16:3). He was a misfit, chosen for a mission he wasn’t qualified for. Aren’t we all?
Timothy’s calling reminds me of a beloved quote from another unlikely instrument. Helen Roseveare, the daughter of an English mathematician, was called by God to love and serve the people of the Congo. She saw the Spirit of God move too and once reflected,
“Looking back, one has tried to ‘count the cost,’ but I find it all swallowed up in privilege. The cost suddenly seems very small and transient in the greatness and permanence of the privilege.”
That’s the song that all unlikely instruments play: the greatness and permanence of the privilege of serving Christ. As we see how God used Timothy, let’s consider our own calling. Jesus didn’t draw us to Himself because we are worthy. He doesn’t use us to build His kingdom because we’ve climbed an invisible ladder of perfection or performance. Instead, He specializes in calling the underqualified and undeserving. Let’s marvel anew at our Timothyness—unworthy, yet chosen to serve.