Summary: If Timothy could have sent his mother, Eunice, a nice Mother's Day card, he might have said something like this.
(Note: this edited message is intentionally somewhat brief, in order to provide time for honoring mothers on Mother’s Day such as flowers, other awards, and so forth.)
Introduction: Timothy was one of Paul’s co-workers. He traveled with Paul to many places, assisting in Paul’s ministry, and even received two letters from Paul (1 and 2 Timothy). Timothy’s mother and grandmother are named, specifically, in the Bible, where only a few women had that privilege. With Mother’s Day approaching, this message attempts to say what Timothy might have told his mother if he had the chance.
Thanks, Mom, for staying true to the faith!
The main text comes from 2 Timothy 2, verses 1 through 5.
I [2 Timothy 1:1-5, KJV] 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, [my] dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, [and] peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I thank God, whom I serve from [my] forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; 4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; 5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
Timothy, his mother and grandmother all lived in Lystra (Acts 16:1) and apparently it was there where they had come to believe in Jesus. Eunice, Timothy’s mother, was a Jewish woman but Timothy’s father was a Greek, who apparently was not a believer (Acts 16:1). Whether Timothy’s father was a Greek-speaking or “Hellenistic” Jew, or a Gentile, is not certain. Scripture does not give any details about Timothy’s family relationships with either parent, except to mention the faith of his mother Eunice or that of his grandmother Lois as well.
And, the faith of these two ladies is something to consider. For one thing, they were living, and apparently had been living, many miles away from Israel in what is now central Turkey. They seem to have followed the Jewish faith even in a foreign country, which would have been difficult enough even if Eunice had a believing husband.
Trying to keep the faith in a strange land, regardless how long you’ve lived there, is never easy.
But Eunice did so, as did Lois, and that surely set an example for Timothy. We’re not told when he came to faith in Jesus, or when and how he matured into being a disciple, but it’s pretty sure to say if his mother hadn’t kept the faith, Timothy may never have come to faith. So he could easily say, “Thanks, Mom, for keeping the faith!”
Besides saying thanks to Eunice for keeping the faith, Timothy might have something else to say to his mother.
II Thanks, Mom, for raising me right!
We’ve seen that Timothy was basically raised by his mother—there is no record of his father, not even his name—and it would have been so easy for him to rebel against his mother. There is no indication he did so, but again, considering an uneasy family situation, and being part of a minority (nobody really knows for sure how many Jews lived outside Israel’s territory), and even considering the temptations all young boys and men face, yes, he could have been a problem for his mother and grandmother.
But if he was, we’re not told anything about it. Certainly, he was a sinner, as is true for every human ever born on this earth! Even so, Timothy was able to learn from his mother, who seems to have taken pains to raise her boy in ”the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4)”. I’ve sometimes wondered if Eunice ever dedicated Timothy to the Lord, as required by the Law of Moses (Exodus 13:2), or “loaned” him to the Lord, even as Hannah did for Samuel (1 Sam. 1:28). Maybe Eunice had Hannah and her sacrifice in mind when Paul came to town?
III Thanks, Mom, for letting me go!
By the time Paul came to Timothy’s home town, Timothy was already a disciple. People in Lystra and Iconium were reporting good things about him (Acts 16:2). He may have been wondering what we could do with his life, and where he would do this. There is no mention of any other brothers or sisters in Timothy’s family, so he may have been an only child so he may have been struggling with the need to provide for his mother and grandmother, and how he could best serve the Lord. This is something, by the way, that many struggle with, even today.