A Parent's Faithful Witness
2 Timothy 1:5 “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”
Take five minutes and list all the movies you have seen in the last 5 years in which wise and loving parents provided sane, intelligent direction and guidance for their children.
Is your list a short one? More often parents are portrayed as bumbling idiots with street-wise, resourceful children who know how to pull their parents’ strings and manipulate their clueless elders.
We know that, in real life, father did not always “know best.” But for most of us he was probably right more than he was wrong. Most of us are leading relatively productive, well-adjusted lives due, at least in part, to a father’s loving leadership.
Even in those families which are not so blessed with a strong father figure, God’s word is effective in guiding and shaping the lives of children when it comes from the mouth of a mother or grandmother.
That was the case for the Apostle Paul’s young friend Timothy. Timothy did not come from the ideal Christian family that could have served as a model for a 1950’s sitcom. While Timothy still had two parents at home (a blessing for children even when those parents are constantly fighting, statistics tell us) Timothy’s father was an unbeliever. In fact, Timothy’s father did not allow Timothy to be circumcised as a boy. Apparently he did not think much of the Jewish faith of his wife.
And yet, Paul tells us that from infancy Timothy had “known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 3:15). When Timothy was a young man, he not only practiced the faith of Scripture, but he dedicated his life to it–first by accompanying Paul on his missionary journeys, and later by serving as pastor of his own congregation.
How did the Lord get his way with Timothy? Paul tells us that his sincere faith “first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5). Even though the home was spiritually divided, his mother and grandmother faithfully shared God’s saving message with their boy. Timothy learned that God promised to send a Savior. Timothy knew the God who is “gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” Not only Timothy, but the entire church was served by his mother’s and grandmother’s efforts.
This is encouraging for parents today. We face many obstacles in passing our faith in Jesus along to our children. Our families are often embattled in some way or other. One parent may be absent entirely due to divorce. A believing parent may have less access to his or her children because of it. Many others in our community do not share our Christian views, and they may be more than eager to offer our children alternatives to the faith of our fathers.
But a faithful Lois or Eunice can still share the word with her little ones today, and Timothy’s example is proof of God’s promise, “My word … will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it”(Isaiah 55:11).