“A grandmother, a mother & a young man” (2 Timothy 1: 3-5)
As we celebrate mother’s day today it is only fair we speak a little bit about motherhood.
There is a Jewish Proverb which says ”God could not be everywhere, that is why He made mothers.”
Our mothers had/have massive influence over our lives.
A young man describing how his mother greatly influenced his life explains: My mum was great, and she thought me many things, amongst them, she taught me:
RELIGION: She would often say things like, ”You better pray that chewing gum will come of the carpet, or you better pray your father doesn’t find out it is there.”
LOGIC: Whenever she told me to do something I would ask, ”Mum, why do I have to do that?” Her response, ”Because I said so, that’s why.”
Apparently, when a child reaches the age of 18, a mother has invested around 18,000 hours of her life in her child’s educational processes, and women without children have, on average, 3 months extra free time a year compared to those with children.
Having said that, I haven’t forgotten that for many people “Mother’s Day” is not always a very happy day, it can be a very difficult one because:
(a) perhaps you mother is no longer with you.
(b) for some being a mother was not something planed, it was an accident, and not a welcome one.
(c) for many women biological motherhood was never a real possibility.
(d) Still others may have gone through the pain of losing one or more children.
(e) For another group, mothers weren’t all that nice; childhood is not something to remember with gladness.
(f) Some mothers struggled alone, with no partner, to help raise their children.
Having said that and meaning no disrespect or consideration to any of you, I would like to invite you to think of the impact a mother can have on her children with or without the help of a husband and for this let us have a look at some Biblical models of mothers:
a) The mother of Moses, Jochebed, who risked her own life and that of her sons’ when she disobeyed pharaoh and taught Moses about the faith of his ancestors.
b) The woman who appeared before King Solomon (we don’t know her name) and agreed to let another woman take her son rather than see him split in two halves as desired by her opponent.
c) The mother of James and John, who, without knowing what she was asking, asked that Jesus in His kingdom would let one of her sons sit on his right and the other on his left of the throne.
But today we will focus on the story of Eunice and Lois.
So, what is the story of Eunice and Lois?
The Bible does not tell us much about them, but we know a few things, we know that Eunice grew up in a Jewish home where she learned her faith through her mother Lois.
As a teenager, Eunice fell in love with a Greek man who did not appear to be interested in matters of faith. Maybe he was a good man, but he wasn’t interested in God or religion; spirituality wasn’t important to him.
Acts 16: 1 – Tells us that Paul went to Derbe and Lystra. There was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a Jewish believer (Eunice), but his father was a Greek. Timothy means the one who honours God.
It is very possible that Eunice’s father died, and her mother Lois went to live with her. Together they raised Timothy in the ways of the Lord. There is not much about Timothy’s father, apart from the fact that he was a Greek man.
So, Eunice and Lois passed on their faith to the young Timothy.
As a young man, Timothy became a Christian and, eventually, a travelling companion to Paul and Silas (Acts 16:3)
By the end of his life, from a prison in Rome and waiting for his own execution, Paul wrote two letters addressed to Timothy – 1st and 2nd Timothy – Timothy now was a grown man and a Pastor in the church of Ephesus.
In 2 Timothy Paul wants to instruct and encourage Timothy, and part of this encouragement comes by way of a reminder, a reminder of the great spiritual heritage he had been given, it also shows the admiration he had for Lois and Eunice.
But how did Eunice and Lois Influence Timothy, what was their legacy?
Firstly, they taught Timothy to Love and Respect the Holy Scriptures (2 Timothy 3.12-15)
Here Paul is reminding Timothy about the trials and persecutions that he would most likely sustain; he also encourages Timothy to remain steadfast in the things he has learned:
In verse 15 Paul goes on to say that Timothy knew these things as a child. Paul was certainly referring to the time of Timothy’s education under the care of his mother and grandmother. They endeavoured in every way to help Timothy to know the Holy Scriptures.
Because they knew the word of God they could teach it to Timothy.
They were familiar with the warnings of Deuteronomy 6: 4-9:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” (NIV)
How much time are we spending reading and studying the Scriptures with our own children or grandchildren? Is it a priority in our families? If not why not?
Secondly, they taught Timothy about Faith in the Lord Jesus (2 Tim. 1:5)
Paul acknowledges that the faith of Eunice and Lois was a sincere faith. There was no falsehood and no pretence in their lives. They were genuine Christians.
One thing we should always keep in mind here is that the faith of others will not save us. Timothy needed to have his own experience with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Having a good model in our own mother is a really wonderful thing, but it will not get us to heaven. Timothy went on to become a fine young Christian man thanks to the hard work of Lois and Eunice.
For three generations, the faith was passed down. With or without their husbands, they have done a great job.
We must take heed of the warnings from the book of Judges, after the death of Joshua and the old elders of the land.
“After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the LORD or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel”. – Judges 2:7-10 (NIV)
We humans have a very short memory, and it is very easy to forget what the Lord has done for us, hence the need to remind ourselves and to teach our children/grandchildren the great wonder of our great God.
Thirdly, they taught Timothy how to love and serve others (Acts 16.3)
From the moment Paul met Timothy and heard about his reputation he saw in him a potential young man who could be of great help. Timothy truly wanted to serve. Serve God and serve others.
But Timothy also had other virtues which stand out:
a) Timothy was a strong believer. He was, in Luke’s words, a true disciple. One who denies himself, takes up his cross and follows Jesus.
b) Timothy had a good reputation. He was a man of his word. A firm man.
c) He was a helpful man. When Paul wanted to take him as his travelling companion, even though he was only a young man, Timothy was ready.
Only someone who knows that he or she is loved at home is willing to take risks outside.
Susannah Wesley gave birth to 17 children, including John and Charles Wesley. It is said that every day she spent about one hour in prayer for her children. She would spend hours, talking individually to her children about God and spiritual things. What a beautiful example; and to this day she is known as the “Mother of Methodism.”
The best way to lead is by example. Have you heard the story of the mother crab?
The mother crab said to her daughter: “Go forward, my daughter, go forward.” The daughter replied, “Good mother, could you show me the way?” the mother then started crawling backward and sideways, as she normally did, the daughter crab then cried out, “So, mother! I go just the way you go, and I do just the way you do.”
How are we doing? Are we being good examples to our children or grandchildren?
I wish to conclude by saying that it is never too early to begin teaching biblical truths to children. Never too early to instil love and respect for the word of God.
To summarise: Lois and Eunice taught Timothy at least 3 things:
1) To love and respect the Scriptures
2) Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ
3) How to be available in the service of God and of others
May your children call you Blessed, and may you call your children blessed, blessed of the Lord. Amen
Let us pray:
Thank you for the gift of motherhood. Thank you for the blessing it is to be called “Mum.” Thank you for the numerous spiritual children you have given to so many “spiritual mums” and mentors. We pray that you would fill this day with favour and grace as we honour mothers all around our nation.
We ask for comfort for those who are grieving loss and heartache, especially on this day. We ask for strength for those who wait for children to come back home. We ask for healing for those who have been hurt by relationships that were intended to be loving and nurturing. We ask for great encouragement and grace to cover those who have made the brave and loving choice to adopt. We ask for incredible provision and care over every single parent mum who works so hard on behalf of her children. We ask that you would remind many of those who, though they do not have “physical” children, have the gift of being amazing hope-bringers to many spiritual children they’ve been blessed to nurture through these years.
Thank you, for the gift of life. Thank you that your heart is for us, and that you are with us, in all our unique journeys and pathways. Thank you that you are Sovereign over every part of our lives. Thank you that your ways are perfect, and you make our footsteps secure.
Today we pray for refreshing, for joy, for grace, for wisdom, for great peace…for all mothers and mothers to be, and for women who nurture and lead.
In Jesus’ Name,