Paul went first to Derbe and then to Lystra, where there was a young disciple named Timothy. His mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek. Timothy was well thought of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium, so Paul wanted him to join them on their journey. In deference to the Jews of the area, he arranged for Timothy to be circumcised before they left, for everyone knew that his father was a Greek. Then they went from town to town, instructing the believers to follow the decisions made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem.
— Acts 16:1-4 NLT
Paul chose Timothy to join Silas and him on their mission team. People who knew Timothy spoke highly of him. Timothy came from a rock-solid background in Scripture with his grandmother and mother. However, his father was a Gentile and had raised Timothy as a Gentile man — not circumcised as a covenant-keeping Jewish male would have been.* Just as the Jerusalem council had decided (Acts 15:1, 23, 28-29), Paul was adamant that circumcision must not be required of Gentiles as Christians. He didn't allow Titus, a fully Gentile young team member he chose later, to be circumcised (Galatians 2:3). However, Jews considered Timothy to be a Jew since his mother was Jewish. With Paul beginning his outreach in each new city in the synagogue, circumcision was both an important declaration of Timothy's loyalty to his Hebrew heritage and a wise move to prevent unnecessary obstacles to the Good News about Jesus. Paul was committed to not let his behavior and practices make it hard for people to come to Christ (1 Corinthians 9:22). We should carefully follow his example in our commitment to cross-cultural outreach!
O Father, teach me not to place unnecessary obstacles in the way of others coming to Jesus. I ask for this wisdom and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in Jesus' name. Amen.