Summary: Encouraging singles, widows, and Christ followers without believing spouses to successfully face the difficult task of following Christ solo.

We’re in the series "No Perfect Families Allowed" and we’re gleaning valuable real to life, hope-inspiring principles for family encouragement from the recorded biographies of Bible families. Last week we established our theme verse for this series..

Romans 5:20b (Amplified Bible) Where sin increased and abounded, grace (God’s unmerited favor) has surpassed it and increased and superabounded…

Applied to family life that means that God’s grace is greater than the past hurts or mistakes of your family! If you will trust God you have hope with every family need.

Today on Mother’s Day we look at the family of a mother who was following Christ but her husband wasn’t. Her name was Eunice.

Many today mirror her experience. There are a lot of people following Christ who don’t have believing spouses, many widows and widowers who serve Christ alone at home, there are lots and lots of Christian singles. We’re going to look today at what the Bible says to them from the experience of this woman who was following Christ without the benefit and blessing of having a husband who shared her faith. We’re going to consider Following Christ Solo.

One caveat: Some of you Christ followers are married to believing spouses so you might be tempted to write this message off thinking that you don’t need to hear it – that it doesn’t apply to you. But please don’t do that because you are called to care for your brothers and sisters who walk this path.

God’s Word says “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Philippians 2:4 (NLT)

Others of you here today may not yet follow Christ. We’re glad you’re here! At Pathway we’ll never pressure you or try to intimidate you in any way. But we do want to share the love of Christ with you and be a place where you can safely come and learn more about what it means to be a follower of Christ just in case you would ever want to cross that line.

So we’re going to look at this woman in Scripture who was following Christ but apparently had a husband who didn’t. Here’s her Bible biography. Luke writes in the early church history Book of Acts:

1 Paul went first to Derbe and then to Lystra, where there was a young disciple named Timothy. His mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 Timothy was well thought of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium, 3 so Paul wanted him to join them on their journey. Acts 16:1-3a (NLT)

Paul, an apostle and missionary of the early church, was on a return trip to strengthen the churches established on his first missionary journey. While doing so he is impressed with the reputation of a young Christ follower named Timothy. But notice right away that Timothy is not mentioned without Luke also citing his Christian mother and her situation.

Timothy’s mother was a Jewish woman who had become a follower of Christ. “But,” Luke writes that Timothy’s father was a Greek. Luke does not add that Timothy’s father was also a Christian, only that he’s a Gentile. So we conclude that Timothy’s mom was married to an unbelieving husband.

The next and only other time Timothy’s mother Eunice is mentioned in Scripture is in a letter Paul wrote years later when he’s in a dungeon far away in Rome for preaching the good news about Jesus. In this writing Paul rehearses the robust faith Timothy exemplified, which was modeled in his mother and grandmother.

Incidentally, the letter we’re about to read from, Second Timothy, contains the last recorded words of Paul before his death as a martyr. He’s actually on death row when he writes these encouraging words to Timothy.

4Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.5 I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. 6 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:5-7 (NLT)

What does this brief Scriptural biography of Timothy’s mom Eunice tell us about Following Christ Solo?



Eunice didn’t have a believing husband but she still didn’t let that stop her from passing her faith along to her son. The Bible says that Timothy was well thought of by the believers in his church. The Bible tells us that his genuine faith was first found in his mother and grandmother. He had sound Christian training at home in spite of the fact that he only had one believing parent.

This passage is not teaching that faith in Christ is something that happens by bloodline. We’re not automatically Christians just because our parents or grandparents are. But their faith does set a good example for us. This is what happened in young Timothy’s life. His father wasn’t a believer but his mother and grandmother were and that impressed upon him the need to learn about Jesus and to trust in Him for himself.

Some “solo” Christ followers battle feelings of inadequacy because of their situation. But Eunice’s example tells us they are not second class members of the church!

My Christian mother, who followed Christ without a Christian husband, told me occasionally of her feelings about being without a Christian husband in the church. She said she sometimes felt like a fifth wheel. She would go to church, or to activities of the church and there would be these happily married Christian couples and she would feel odd, first as a Christian woman without a believing husband, and later, after my father died, as a widow. She wasn’t trying to blame the Christian married couples for her feelings – she was just being honest.

And I’ve talked to others in the church, Christian singles, widows, and believers without Christian spouses who have expressed that they too sometimes feel that way.

Those who follow Christ solo are just as important in the church as those who don’t are! You need to know that if you’re alone following Christ AND EVEN if you follow Christ and are blessed with a believing spouse.

Eunice knew that just because she didn’t have a Christian spouse, she was still able to wield her influence for Christ. She lived the truth of what Paul said to Timothy in his second letter.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

Say that verse out loud with me. I want you to memorize it before you leave today.

If you are a Christ follower without the blessing of a Christian spouse don’t give in to the spirit of fear and timidity. That doesn’t come from God so don’t fall for it! What comes from God in whatever situation you find yourself in, is power, love, and self-discipline!

So get that established, whether or not you are following Christ alone, Solo is NOT second class!

Secondly… The example of Eunice illustrates that…


The easy road to take when you’re living the often difficult lifestyle of following Christ solo is to think that this somehow allows you to not get all that involved in faith ventures.

The rationalization goes something like this: “Since I don’t have a spouse, or I have a spouse but they don’t share my faith in Christ, I don’t feel obligated to give my time, my talents and my money to God’s work as much as I would if I had a partner that walked with me in the faith. I’m struggling under special circumstances so God understands my lesser commitment.”

The truth is - there is never any circumstance given in Scripture whereby we are excused from giving Christ our all.

Apparently Eunice didn’t feel like she was excused from giving her all for God because she gave her son to God’s work. Her son obviously had her blessing to go on the missionary journey with Paul and later to leave home for good and become a pastor in the city of Ephesus.

Remember that Lystra, where Paul meets Timothy, is the city where Paul was stoned and left for dead! Eunice knew first hand the dangers of missionary work in the First Century! Yet still her son had her blessing for the work for which God had gifted him!

We need parents who will give their children the blessing of doing God’s will for their lives no matter where it is or what it is! No matter what the home situation of the parents is.

It would be easy without the benefit of a believing spouse, or without a spouse at all because of desertion, death or divorce, to justify trying to keep all of your children, especially if they profess faith in Christ, right by your side. But Eunice wasn’t selfish. She cut the apron strings – a difficult but essential task for every mother. She was willing to give her son to Christ’s call on his life.

Where did she find the strength to let Timothy go? You say, “I’m following Christ solo as a single or as a widow or as a Christian whose spouse has not yet believed in Christ. How can I find the strength and peace to give my children away when I’m already alone in my faith-walk?” Some moms and dads find it difficult to give their children to God’s call even when they have a believing spouse. Where does the power come from to do this?

How and where can I find the strength to give my all to God even in the midst of difficult situations?

Do you remember the widow woman that Jesus commended as the greatest giver? Here’s the Bible account:

41 Jesus sat near the Temple money box and watched the people put in their money. Many rich people gave large sums of money.42 Then a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which were only worth a few cents. 43 Calling his followers to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow gave more than all those rich people. 44 They gave only what they did not need. This woman is very poor, but she gave all she had; she gave all she had to live on." Mark 12:41-44 (NCV)

Here’s this widow who’s following Christ solo, and Jesus sees her sacrificial giving. He announces to His followers that “this poor widow woman gave more than all those rich people.”

Do you know what that widow woman knew? Do you know why she was able to give all she had? She lived the truth that Paul told Timothy in verse 7.

Recite 2 Timothy 1:7 out loud with me again.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

The widow Jesus commended gave all she had because it was apparently needed and she didn’t fear whether or not God was going to take care of her. She didn’t have a husband to rely on but she had someone bigger and better! She didn’t operate on fear or timidity – she operated on power, love and self-discipline!

It may be more tempting to fear as one following Christ alone in your home, but all Christ followers need to remember the importance of sharing. We especially need to open our hearts and homes and share them with those facing the unique challenge of following Christ solo.



And one more principle about following Christ successfully if you’re flying solo.


It’s interesting in verse 4 of 2 Timothy chapter one that Paul recalls Timothy’s tears before he remembers his faith.

4Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.5 I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. 2 Timothy 1:4-5 (NLT)

Paul may have been referring to Timothy’s tears when Paul was arrested and carted off to prison, but that is not mentioned in the original Greek text.

Or it may have been other times when he saw Timothy’s expression of a compassionate heart.

Our culture wrestles with a man sheeding tears, especially in public, but you don’t get this twisted idea of manhood from the Bible. Jesus, the manliest man who ever lived, wept openly and often. And Paul himself was accustomed to shedding tears in the ministry. He told the Ephesian pastors when he left them, "Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears." Acts 20:31b (TNIV)

Where did Timothy’s tears come from? I think Paul is insinuating that Timothy was a compassionate person because he had learned to be empathetic with others by watching his grandmother and mother. And they may have learned compassion because of their difficult task of living for Christ without a partner.

When we suffer in life we often become more aware and concerned about the suffering of others. This truth applies to Following Christ Solo and to many other difficulties in life.

When we face a tough situation in life we have two choices: we can allow the situation to make us harder, or we can allow it to make us softer – softer towards other people experiencing difficult situations.

Tradition says that Paul was beheaded shortly after writing these words to Timothy. Paul himself was in a difficult situation when he wrote these encouraging words that the Holy Spirit knew would be passed down to us.

How did he not only maintain his composure, but also find the strength to write an encouraging letter to Timothy?

Say it with me one last time.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

Paul personally experienced the truth of this Scripture. That’s why he wrote it. He lived it.

The question today is: Will we live it?