Summary: A mom can be a spiritual mentor to her children with or without the help of a dad.
Rev. Brian Bill
Have you heard about the boy who wore a Green Bay Packer jersey for 1,581 straight days? David Witthoft from Connecticut (not Wisconsin) wore Brett Favre’s #4 jersey every day since Christmas 2003. He stopped wearing it a couple weeks ago on his 12th birthday because it became too small. Showing that the statement is true that behind every good man is a great mother, his mom Carolyn had washed the jersey every other day and mended it when needed. The story left out how happy the mom was when David ditched his jersey!
I’m aware that Mother’s Day is anything but happy for some of you.
* Maybe you want to be a mother but you can’t be for some reason
* Perhaps some of you have not had the best mother in the world
* Some of you have had a mother who has died
* A handful of mothers have lost a child to death
* Some of you mothers feel the pain of a wayward child this morning
* And, some of you are flying solo as you work hard to nurture your child’s faith
I want to propose this morning that a mom can be a spiritual mentor to her children with or without the help of a dad.
Let me introduce you to a young woman named Eunice. She was raised in a religious home and was greatly impacted by her mother Lois. She loved to learn the stories from the Bible when she was young and enjoyed going to services where she could learn about God. As she approached her teenage years, she was still focused on spiritual matters but she became attracted to a young man who was not into religion at all. Against the best wishes of her godly mother, the teaching of her faith, and the tug of her conscience, she married the man. Don’t get me wrong – he was a nice guy but thought spiritual matters were for weak people.
After a couple years of marriage, Eunice and her husband had a baby boy named Timothy. In the meantime, Eunice’s dad had died so they asked her mother Lois to come and live with them. Little Timmy was a delight to everyone. Both his mother and grandmother spent hours with him, teaching him the Bible, praying with him and for him, and training him in the things of God, creating a spiritual environment where tiny Tim could flourish.
We don’t really know when Grandma Lois became a follower of the Lord Jesus but it could have been at Pentecost where we read that 3,000 were saved from all over the area (Acts 2:41). Whenever it happened, she passed her faith on to her daughter Eunice. Acts 16:1 tells us that she was raised in the Jewish faith and had recently become a believer. These new believers in turn focused on teaching Timothy who Jesus was. We know from reading the book of Acts that Paul himself took a personal interest in Tim the teenager and, in tandem with his mother and grandmother, led him to saving faith.
Later, Paul and Timothy partner together in ministry as the gospel continues to spread throughout the area. Many years later he writes two letters to young Timothy. These letters contain some teaching about how Timothy should behave as a church leader and are also filled with some reminiscing and nostalgia on Paul’s part. As Paul writes these letters, that we know as 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy, he reflects on the mothers who made an impact in Tim’s life.
With that as background, let’s turn to 2 Timothy 1:5 to see how a mother (and a grandmother) can be spiritual mentors to children with or without the help of a dad. We don’t know much about Timothy’s dad other than he was a Greek and not a believer. We’re not told if he deserted the family or if he was around but just absent spiritually. Incidentally, I’m not suggesting that dads don’t matter. In fact, they matter a lot. We’ll end this series on Father’s Day with a message called, “Disciplemaking Dads.”
Let’s ponder this passage: “I have been 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.” As I pondered this passage, three principles came to the surface.
* Sincere Christ-followers stand out. Paul is in prison and he feels feeble. Many of his friends have deserted him (see 1:15, 4:16) but his mind goes to Timothy’s sincere faith. That reminds me of 3 John 1:4: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
* Focus on your family first. Grandma pointed her daughter to grace and then mom modeled the faith and mentored her own son. The principle is that we must focus on our own family first. After being healed by Jesus a formerly demon-possessed man begged to go with Him. Listen to Mark 5:19: “Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.”