by Bob Gerow
The year was 1940. The street preacher was on 9th Avenue, between 42nd and 43rd Streets in New York City. One of his listeners was George Georgakis.
George Georgakis, a photographer, met Christ as a result of that preacher's faithfulness, and immediately sought to share his salvation with others. He felt a particular burden for other Greeks and wondered if there were any others who had also experienced the grace of God. The Lord led him to Nick Lambrides, who, along with George, would in 1942 establish the American Committee for the Evangelization of the Greeks.
The fledgling American Committee for the Evangelization of the Greeks published a monthly magazine, The Voice of the Gospel, as a primary means of reaching Greek-speaking people. Before long, circulation for The Voice of the Gospel was small in numbers but worldwide in its outreach. As circulation grew they realized the need for new contributors-writers fluent in both English and Greek, who loved Christ, and who had a burden to reach the Greeks with the gospel.
Half a world away, in Cairo, Egypt, a young soldier in the British Army was growing in his own walk with Christ, and in his desire to declare what the grace of God had done for him. Providentially, a copy of The Voice of the Gospel came to his attention. After reading it, he decided to submit an article of his own.
When it arrived, the article was in English, but the cover letter was in Greek. Georgakis and Lambrides immediately recognized the combination of skills and conviction they were seeking for The Voice of the Gospel. They extended an invitation to the young author to join them in the ministry, and in 1946, Spiros Zodhiates became general director of the American Committee for the Evangelization of the Greeks, and editor of The Voice of the Gospel.
No one knows the name of that solitary preacher on 9th Avenue, but God has used him mightily. The result of that message has since grown into what is now AMG International-a worldwide missionary and relief organization with ministries in over 50 countries.
In 2007, AMG International marks 65 years of ministry. In special recognition of God's gracious hand in the work of AMG, we also present below the text of "Are You a Timothy?" - the first article submitted by Spiros Zodhiates for publication. Still today, The Voice of the Gospel continues to be a clear witness to the lost, and an encouragement to God's people in Greek communities worldwide.
Are You a Timothy
By Spiros Zodhiates
One night when still enjoying civilian life I was returning home tired and exhausted from the day's work. On the way there came to me a very peculiar question which I found rather difficult to explain at the start. It was this: "Have you been a Timothy today?" I thought it was meaningless and tried to get rid of it, but in vain as it kept pestering my mind.
It was not until I analyzed the word "Timothy" that I could possibly grasp the meaning of it all. This is a compound name composed of the verb "timo," meaning to "honour" and the noun "theos," meaning "God." Putting it together we could say that it means "to honour God." Rather a meaningful name, as nearly all names in the East are. So the question to which the mysterious inner voice demanded an answer was, "Have you been honouring God today?" The noise and din of the street was too much to allow me to think of the matter seriously and give a satisfactory answer.
The time came when I arrived and was finally ready to retire. I knelt down for a word of prayer, but I could not proceed on as usual. "Have you been honouring God today?" could not leave me in peace. A sincere all-round "yes would not be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. As last I said: "I have partly honoured Thee, Lord." It was then and there that I realized that I had been the row-boat type of a Christian, as E. Stanley Jones would call me.
He tells us there are three kinds of Christians-the row-boat type, the sail-boat type and the steam-boat type. The first is humanistic, dependent, trying to get on with its own resources. The next one is dependent on the winds, the waves, the circumstances. He is not the self-dependent, but the other-dependent. If the others back and support him then there is a possibility of getting along. The third one moves through the power from within, whether the wind is favorable or unfavorable. Bad weather would probably reduce the speeed, but it is doubtful if in the long run the boat will not reach the goal, the land of victory toward which it is sailing.
I was not an all-round Timothy that day for the simple reason that I had tried through rowing and toiling, at the same time depending on favorable weather and other human help, to reach the land of happiness and victory. Alas! The oars and the boatman were not strong enough to cope with the adverse circumstances of life. Had the boat been of the steam type, the boatman could have easily been a "Timothy" and the answer to the challenge a definite "yes."
Do you honour god in your daily life? Are you a Timothy? I admit it is difficult to be one, but easy through Him that loved us and gave Himself for us that we may not toil rowing in the dark without getting anywhere. Remember the question demands an answer. What will be yours?