Summary: What legacy will you leave for your children? Eunice left a truly lasting legacy for her son Timothy that fully prepared him for all that he would face in this life, but most importantly what he would face at the end of life. Are we creating that same lasting legacy?
It’s that time of year again – the beginning of another school year. College campuses will soon be flooded with wide-eyed freshman and teary-eyed parents. High schools will be filled with the sounds of locker doors slamming, three-ring binders clicking, and the quiet hum of Google Chromebooks. Elementary and middle schools welcome back eager learners along with the not-so-eager learners who drag their feet in defiance of the end of summer vacation. Even if you no longer have a school-aged child, the reminders of the beginning of another school year are all around us – big yellow buses holding up traffic and the barrage of back-to-school sales. Compared to how much time, money and effort that goes into preparing children for a single school year, how much do we put into preparing children for what they will face throughout and after those school years, and most importantly preparing them for what happens after this life?
This morning we meet the final person in our summer sermon series – a mother who left a lasting legacy that truly prepared her for whatever he would face in life. But more importantly it fully prepared him for after this life. The name of this woman was Eunice, the mother of a young man named Timothy.
We first hear of Eunice and her mother Lois in 2 Timothy 1:5 as the Apostle Paul begins his letter to his good friend and fellow-pastor named Timothy. Paul writes to Timothy, “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” (2 Timothy 1:5). As Paul thought of Timothy, he couldn’t help but remember the two women who were extremely influential in Timothy’s life – his mother and grandmother. When and where did Paul first meet them? Around the year 50 AD Paul began his second missionary journey by returning to a number of cities he had been to on his first missionary journey. The Bible tells us in Acts 16, “Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey” (Acts 16:1-3a).
There are two things that I want you to take note of in those verses. First is Timothy’s hometown of Lystra. Paul had been to Lystra three years earlier on his first missionary journey. Things started off well and then got really ugly really fast when a group of jealous Jews showed up. In Acts 14 we read, “Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city” (Acts 14:19,20). That was in Timothy’s hometown of Lystra. Were his mother and grandmother some of those disciples who helped Paul? We don’t know. But we can be sure that Timothy’s family was well aware of what had happened to Paul.
The second thing you may have noticed is that it does not seem that Timothy’s father was a Christian. He is called “a Greek” and is not named by Paul as someone who was influential in Timothy’s Christian training. However, that lack of support from her husband did not deter Timothy’s mother from making sure that as Paul puts it, “from infancy” Timothy was taught the truths of God’s Word. Timothy’s mother and grandmother made sure that Timothy knew God’s promise to send a Savior to rescue him and all people from the eternal condemnation of sin. Together they looked forward to the day when the promised Savior would arrive and through his perfect life, sacrificial death and glorious resurrection would secure salvation. When the Apostle Paul arrived in Lystra, he announced that what they were looking forward to had happened. Jesus had come and fulfilled the Scriptures which Timothy had learned from infancy. Jesus had come and now it was time for them to go, to go and tell of the salvation Jesus had won for all.
The Christians living in Lystra could not think of a better prepared person to accompany Paul in his mission work than young Timothy. He knew the Scriptures and believed that Jesus was the promised Savior. And so his mother sent off her son, confident that he was ready because as Paul reminded Timothy years later, “Continue in what you have learned and become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14,15). For the next nearly 15 years, Paul and Timothy travelled with one another throughout the Roman Empire, proclaiming the message of Christ Jesus as Savior to people of every nationality, social status, race and gender, teaching and training Christians, and preparing people to teach and train still others.