Thesis: The church needs to take special care of mothers who nurture children in the faith without a husband's help.
1. Today is "Mother's Day." A day we honor those who have (with God's help) given us the gift of life. Many different typesof mothers here today:
a. Women who want to be mothers but are not (Some will be, some won't).
b. Women who are grandmothers (also Great-grandmothers!)
c. Mothers whose children have grown (or on verge of leaving the nest).
d. Mothers who have teenagers.
e. Mothers who have small children.
2. Today we want to call attention to another type of mother: Ones who nurture children in the faith without a husband's help (Maybe he can't ... maybe he won't).
a. Several yrs. ago Rick Atchley (a gospel preacher in Texas), wrote an article about this type of mother:
b. Read: "I've seen her in every congregation where I have ever preached. She usually sits at the back of the auditorium. She is accompanied by two or three young children, but no other adult. She attempts to sing or listen to the sermon, but most of her time is spent just trying to keep her kids quiet. Coloring books and Cheerios spend much more time in her hands than the Bible. If this wasn't frustrating enough, she has to endure ... gazes from those around her who have forgotten how their own kids behaved, and are now terribly 'distracted' by hers. When the assembly is dismissed, she looks more exhausted than uplifted. She trudges with her troops back to the car and wonders if it was worth it. To some, she and her children were a nuisance. To me she is among the grandest of all saints" ["The Ministry of Motherhood," Image 3 (Sept. 1987):19-21.]
I. TIMOTHY: PAUL'S SON IN THE FAITH.
A. As far as we know the Apostle Paul never married and never had children.
1. Yet had "son in the faith" who was as dear as anyone!
2. His name was Timothy (Phil. 2:19-22).
B. How did Timothy reach this point of maturity?
1. First introduced to Timothy in Acts 16:1-3.
2. We learn more about Timothy's background in 2 Timothy:
a. 2 Tim. 1:3-5.
b. 2 Tim. 3:14-15.
II. THREE THINGS THAT EUNICE DID FOR TIMOTHY.
A. She instilled a respect for Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:14-17).
1. From infancy (same Greek word as in Luke 2:12).
2. Early years crucial!
a. Proverb: "As the twig is bent, so grows the tree."
b. Xavier: "Give me a child until he's 7 yrs. old ..."
c. Point: Spiritual training can never start too early!
B. She instilled an authentic faith (2 Tim. 1:5).
1. Faith is not hereditary--it is learned.
a. Eunice was not just a mother, she was a model.
b. She knew it was not enough to read scroll and show up at synagogue once a week--Timothy needed to see a lived faith!
2. No one knows better than a child whether a parent's faith is genuine! We can come here and sing "O How I love Jesus"; go home & live like the Hadean realm, and it will be reflected in our offspring.
C. She instilled a desire to minister (Acts 16:3).
1. Timothy eagerly accepted Paul's invitation!
a. He knew it meant leaving home.
b. He knew it meant hardship (Paul had been stoned at Lystra).
2. How can that kind of commitment to ministry develop if it has not been encouraged at home?
a. Could that be why there's a missionary shortage?
b. Could that be why appointing elders in many churches is like pulling teeth?
3. Eunice was a woman who:
a. Loved Timothy enough to share Scripture & faith;
b. Loved God enough to let him go when call came.
D. Eunice did all these things WITH NO ENCOURAGEMENT FROM HER HUSBAND! ("Mother was a Jewess & a believer, but whose father was a Greek"--Acts 16:1).
1. Not to say Timothy's father was a bad man.
a. May have been good man in many ways.
b. Left no spiritual influence on Timothy.
c. That was left to his mother (and his mother's mother).
2. Never underestimate the power of a godly mother!
1. Conclude by finishing Rick Atchley's article about the mother on the back row with the crayons and Cheerios: "Now take another look at that woman mentioned at the first of this article. Does she need [our] glares and frowns? Does she need more encouragement? Or could she not instead use some support, some respect, some appreciation? It bothers me that all some brethren (and sisters--RKC) seem concerned about is how to keep her kids quiet. It seems to me that the issue instead should be how the brethren can help that sister hang in there when it doesn't even seem worth it, and how the church can assist her in making a spiritual deposit in those kids in the absence of a father who will do so. Perhaps I empathize with these ladies more than most. I should, for I owe my salvation to one. You see, my grandmother was one of those women who dragged her two boys to church Sunday after Sunday by herself. . . . "Today I serve a great church in Abilene, Texas, and have been afforded the privilege of addressing saints across the nation. My grandmother, on the other hand, serves the Lord in an inconspicuous way in central Texas. She is not well known, she has received no honorary doctorates, her name has never appeared in a brotherhood publication, yet I want you to know that I would not be a Christian today, much less a preacher, if it were not for the stubborn faith of Ona Atchley. . . . So, take special care of those ladies who sit at the back of the auditorium. That little boy beside her could be the next Timothy. I wonder who will be his Paul?"