A Spiritual Debt, A Spiritual Legacy

Timothy became a traveling companion and assistant on Paul’s second missionary journey. Timothy had a good reputation with the church, and he proved to be a valuable worker. Timothy is mentioned with Paul as a sender in 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon. He worked in Berea, Macedonia, Corinth, Thessalonica, and Ephesus. He accompanied Paul on his final trip to Jerusalem, and Hebrews mentions his release from prison (Hebrews 13:23). But we gain a personal insight into Timothy’s life, when Paul wrote: “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well” (2 Timothy 1:5, ESV). Timothy owed a spiritual debt to his mother and grandmother.

Eunice and Lois were not a perfect mother and grandmother. Why did Eunice marry a Gentile? Was that a good spiritual decision given the instructions of the Law? Were they grieved when Timothy’s eighth day of life passed without a circumcision as the Law commanded (Acts 16:3)? Yet, maybe that can be reassuring to us. We can have a positive spiritual impact having made some bad decisions in our life. Few of us would volunteer ourselves as models of perfect parenthood. The past is past. We must live for God today, and that is what Eunice and Lois did.

Eunice and Lois had a sincere faith. Faith is more than having your name on a church membership role or occupying a pew on Sunday morning. Faith must be lived in daily life. Our devotional life must overflow from the assembly into family and private devotions. Our moral life must be demonstrated on how we treat real people and not what lessons have we heard. If we have strong faith, it is more likely that our children will have strong faith. If we have moderate faith, our children may see the inconsistencies and have weaker faith. If we have weak faith, our children may have no faith. We can’t pass along what we don’t have. The greatest gift we can give our children is being people of sincere faith.

Eunice and Lois nurtured faith in Timothy. Paul reminded Timothy of his past: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15, ESV ). We can imagine Timothy taught Bible stories from his earliest years. We can imagine spiritual insights shared in daily life at those teachable moments.

Timothy owed a spiritual debt to his mother and grandmother. Lois and Eunice had a spiritual legacy because of their sincere faith and faithful instruction.

Mothers are important to us in many ways, but a spiritual legacy is the greatest gift of all. Happy Mother’s Day!

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