Encouragement to Mothers (and Fathers!) to Firmly Establish a Legacy of Faith
In his second letter to his pastor friend and mentee, Timothy, the Apostle Paul quickly recalls to his own mind and to Timothy’s mind a couple of ladies that were very special to and undoubtedly near and dear to Timothy’s own heart. Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, were pioneer women in The Way and matriarchal figures, not only to Timothy, but to all Christians, including we the audience to Paul’s writings to this day:
2 Timothy 1:5-7 – 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. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
Throughout Scripture, any time a woman is mentioned by name, it should cause us to pause and closely examine what the writer must say about them. Bible times were so highly patriarchal, that although we know that the women and men of today have equal worth and equal rights, we must recognize that it was really something special when any woman is highlighted in God’s inspired Word.
Second Timothy is no exception. Here we learn something so powerful and encouraging from the example that is set forth by these two women of God. Nowhere else in all of Scripture are they mentioned, and in fact this account is extremely brief, to say the least. But it establishes a standard for women (and men!), mothers (and fathers!), grandmothers (and grandfathers!) alike, that ALL should strive to pattern their lives after. It’s also interesting to consider that the Bible doesn’t tell us anything about Timothy’s father, except that he was a Greek. Was he a deadbeat dad? Was Eunice a widow? Was he spiritually lost? Perhaps he was a believer, but may not have been as strong in the faith as his wife Eunice and his mother-in-law Lois, much like many Christian men today. We can only speculate. But one thing is clear: according to the verses above, Timothy’s spiritual foundation was established by his mother and grandmother. 2 Timothy 3:15 re-affirms this, “…from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
It’s interesting to note that the meaning of the name “Eunice” is “conquering well,” or “good victory,” or “victorious,” (Gk: nike) according to many various sources. What a fitting moniker for a woman who conquered fear of the Jewish authorities and the Roman government and followed the victorious legacy of Christ that she had received from her mother, and then passed on to her son Timothy (whose name, by the way, means “in God’s honor”)! We should all be so ambitious to train up our children in the way of the Lord, as Eunice did. Perhaps you didn’t have a Lois in your life, like Eunice did. But the legacy has to start somewhere. Someone introduced you to Christ. Let none of us rest until we are confident that the legacy has been passed on to our own children and to any others who will listen to our testimony.
Consider the lasting legacy that is created by those who trust the Lord! What an honor for Lois and Eunice to be mentioned by name by the Apostle Paul, quite possibly the greatest missionary the world has ever known, and upon whose writings so much of our Church and doctrines are shaped by. Of course, Eunice and Lois weren’t seeking attention or glory – they simply desired to sow the seeds of faith in their children and grandchildren. Their success is evident in the leadership and dedication that Timothy himself modeled to the Church.
This Mother’s Day, let us all rejoice and each give thanks for the Lois and/or the Eunice in our own lives. Let us dedicate ourselves to raise the next generation to, in turn, be a Lois or a Eunice to the generation after them.
I, like Timothy, was incredibly blessed to have a Lois and a Eunice in my life. My mother, Becky, and her mother, my grandma, Emmy, modeled the love of Christ and a commitment to living for Jesus throughout my childhood and to this day. Truly, I had Christianity modeled to me from both parents and all my grandparents, but my Dad’s folks lived far away and my Grandpa Bob died when I was very young. But where would I be if it weren’t for Godly parents and grandparents? Thank you Jesus, that I was raised in a home that feared God and exhibited genuine faith in the One True God!!! Thank you, Mom! Thank you, Grandma Emmy!
My wife, also, had a Lois and a Eunice in her life as well. When I pause to think about the generations of women who loved Jesus and passed that down to my wife, it causes me to be overwhelmed with awe and wonder at the goodness of God to provide for me a helpmate that has such a rich heritage in the faith. Thank you, Stacy (my mother-in-law) for setting the standard of faith in Jesus for Tiffany and for raising your daughters to be faithful to the Lord. Thank you, Earline (my great-grandmother-in-law) for showing Stacy the way to follow Jesus. Words are not enough to express my gratitude.
Thank you, to my dear wife, Tiffany, for willingly receiving the legacy that has been passed to you, and for in turn, passing it on to our children, who by the grace of God and our example, will be 5th generation spirit-filled followers of Jesus Christ. And I’m with you all the way. You are a Eunice to our kids, but you’re not in this alone, as Eunice may have been. And I don’t want to do it without you. Thank you, for your sincere faith. Thank you, for fanning that flame into our children. Thank you, that you are not timid, but rather, are full of the Spirit’s love and power. We are creating a lasting legacy of victory in Jesus to pass on to our own wonderful children.
Will you, dear reader, be like Eunice? Perhaps you could be like Lois to a Eunice and a Timothy… By the power of God, we all can be. And by the grace of God, we all will be, if we do not give up!