Text: 2 Timothy 1:3-7
Some statistics estimate that 10 million children in America are raised without a father. This may be a contributing factor to the rise in teen violence, school dropouts, and teenage pregnancies. The role of a father is so important in a child’s life, yet many children do not experience these benefits. Timothy had a Greek Gentile father, but the Bible tells us that he was raised by his grandmother and mother to be a follower of Jesus. We do not know what happened to his father; he may have died at a young age. What we do know is that his grandmother and mother were strong believers and that they passed their faith on to Timothy. These two women had great faith which resulted in a young yet mature believer who would become Paul’s partner in his missionary trips, and later the pastor of the Ephesian church.
Raising a child on your own is not an easy task; it requires patience, faith, and endurance. We can learn from these two women that it is possible to raise, on your own, a son or daughter who loves the Lord. The secret is letting them know that we have a Father that will never leave or forsake them, and above all that He will never reject them no matter how far they fall. If you are a single mother, know that when you speak God’s words to your child, they will never return void (Is 55:11). The seeds you scatter will eventually flourish and you will be a witness of God’s grace and mercy. This is coming from a mother who raised her children spiritually on her own. Today, thank God that all of them serve Him and love Him. Take heart, my sister!
This passage reminds me of the opening words of Hebrews 12: “Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses . . . let us run with perseverance.” The imagery the author of Hebrews 12 is using is that of a runner on a track cheered on by a stadium full of people. The runner runs with greater speed and endurance when she can hear the cheers of the crowd. Paul is using a similar technique when he writes to Timothy. Life for Timothy was full of trials and now he was receiving news that Paul was awaiting execution. This young man needed to be encouraged to persevere and keep the faith. So who does Paul call to his mind? Lois and Eunice – Timothy’s first teachers and cheerleaders. These two women taught Timothy how to follow Jesus with a sincere faith. Life for Lois and Eunice could not have been easy, since they came to faith during the early years of the Christian movement when there was severe, life-threatening persecution. If anyone knew what it meant to hold onto one’s faith in trials, it was these women. We do not know if Lois and Eunice were still alive when Paul penned 2 Timothy, but we do know that they were part of that cloud of witnesses cheering Timothy on. As he remembered their courageous faith, Timothy was motivated to stand strong.
Who has served as a spiritual cheerleader in your life? Whose life is a model for you when you are discouraged? How can you find renewed hope in their faith? Likewise, who are you discipling and training up in the faith? How might Jesus use you to bring them renewed hope when they are suffering?