Friday, May 12, 2017

Eunice and Lois: A Heritage of Faith

I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  
2 Timothy 1:3-6

The Apostle Paul loved Timothy as if he were his own son. He writes of his confidence in him and shares why he feels he can have such strong faith in him.  Undoubtedly, Lois and her mother, Eunice, had steeped Timothy in knowledge of all the great judges and the most loved prophets as well as the wisdom in the Psalms and Proverbs.  You can almost hear them repeating some of those verses to each other, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6.) Or, "I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths." (Proverbs 4:11.) 

Lois and Eunice must have done something right, as Timothy was a very effective minister in one of the most influential cultural centers of the Roman Empire. If it wasn't for Eunice's training, the church would have been without a central figure in its historical development.  Timothy was only about fifteen when he left them to go with Paul and Silas to preach the gospel.  We can only imagine the pride coupled with sadness they experienced as they told him goodbye.

In Acts 16:1, we have an account of the family of Timothy: - Then came he to Derbe and Lystra; and behold a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek.  Note that nothing is said of the father, except that he was “a Greek,” but it is implied that he was not a believer. In the epistle before us, nothing whatever is said of him.  But the piety of his mother alone is commended, and it is fairly implied that his father was not a believer.  Even more reason to commend these women who passed on their faith.
Paul’s confidence in these women was not merely that they had transferred scripture knowledge to their grandson/son.  It was not that they had taught proper respect for religious tradition.  He spoke of their faith.  He called it a “sincere” faith.  The word “sincere” carries the meaning of that which is without any weakness.  It literally means “without (sin) wax (cere)” and was used in reference to the great marble columns used in the architecture of the day.  A column that was imperfect would be filled with wax to make it appear unblemished.  A truly unblemished column was “sincere” or “without wax.”

Such a faith is a faith that is modeled in life and not merely in church.  It is a faith that supports and sustains a saintly grandmother at the death of her husband.  It is a faith that leads a mother to call out to God in prayer at the sickness of their child.  It is not for show but for strength.

Eunice and Lois seem to step right from the pages of the Bible to tell us that nothing is more important in a mother's life than the early training of her children.  These mothers are not well-known at all. However their dedication to and faith in God lead to the development of a man who would influence the world with his faith; the faith he had learned .at the feet of his grandmother and mother.   Take the time to thank your mothers for their training, and pray that you will be as effective as these women were with your children.

Scripture to Claim:
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, (2 Timothy 1:7-9)

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