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Mother's Day – The Little Things that Moms Do

A Study of Timothy and His Mom

We all want to do nice things for our Mother or wife on Mother’s Day. Here’s a little poem I ran across.

M-O-T-H-E-R

M is for the mink coat you want, Mom

O is for the opal ring you crave,

T is for the terrific car you'd love,

H is for the hat that makes you rave,

E is for the earrings you'd admire, Mom

R is for the rug on which you'd tread;

Put them all together, they spell bankrupt,

So I'm giving you this handkerchief instead.

On this Mother’s Day, I would like to examine Timothy and the influence his mother had on him to help him become the great preacher, helper of Paul, and man of God that he was. We know that Timothy was closely associated with Paul throughout Paul’s ministry. And from his letters to Timothy, it is obvious that Timothy became an important minister in the early church. We know very little about his Mom. In 2 Timothy 1:5 we are introduced to her.

2 Timothy 1:5

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you.

Timothy’s Mom was named Eunice. She was a woman of faith as was her mother. But somehow she was able to pass this faith along to her son. This was no small feat since Timothy’s father was not a believer. But Eunice had patiently taught her son, and no doubt had lived her faith, which is always the best teacher. It is in the small areas of our life that we make the big impressions on our children.

As parents, we may think it’s the big things we do that have the biggest influence – whether we are successful, or have an important position, or make a lot of money, or are respected in the community. We may think that when we take a bold stand for what’s right, or stand up against evil, against prejudice, or against injustice, that our children admire us the most. But it is the little things that we do everyday that make the biggest impressions on our children. Do we show kindness, do we genuinely trust God, do we live our faith in every circumstance, are we people of prayer? Paul said that Eunice was a woman of faith. He also said that Timothy was a man of faith. Timothy had seen that his mother’s faith was real.

But walking in faith was not the only thing Timothy’s Mom did for her son.

2 Timothy 3:14-15

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Here in verse 15 Paul says that Timothy has been acquainted with the sacred writings from childhood. How did he learn them? He did not learn them from the Greek religion of his father. It must have been his mother faithfully teaching him. As Deuteronomy 6:6-9 told the Jewish parents, "And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

This must have required extra work on the mother’s part since it was usually the father’s job to teach the sons and the mother’s job to teach the daughters. Perhaps there were times when she felt too exhausted from all the work of the day to spend time with her son. But she would not give up in her responsibilities. She was faithful and willing to do the extra work.

How much extra time are you willing to spend for your children? Are you willing to do the extra work to instruct them about God and his word? It is certainly not easy with our busy schedules and all the demands on our time, but we must be willing to pass on spiritual truths to our children.

There will be times when we may feel like the mother who was in the psychologist’s office. The psychologist was speaking to her. "Let's see," he said, "You spend 50 percent of your time and energy on your job, 50 percent on your husband and 50 percent on your children. I think I see your problem."

It may seem like we can’t do any more, but the most important thing is our children’s spiritual growth. Let us not neglect that. We have our children only for a short time. And then they are young adults. What we have done during their formative years will last them for the rest of their lives.

As Timothy became a young man, he became a disciple of Christ. He lived in Lystra and that is where Paul met him.

Acts 16:1-2

And he came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer; but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brethren at Lystra and Iconium.

This was a remarkable young man. Verse 2 says he was well spoken of by the brethren at Lystra and Iconium. His mother Eunice had tried to teach her son, and now he was a young man. He had apparently learned his lessons well. So much so that Paul wanted to take him with him. He saw potential in this young believer. I wonder if Eunice as she watched her son leave with Paul on his missionary journey thought back to all those years of sacrifice – all those times that she had spent faithfully teaching her son about the goodness of God. Now he was a man, ready to enter the ministry of the early church reaching the whole world.

A Mother's Influence

I took a piece of plastic clay

And idly fashioned it one day;

And as my fingers pressed it still

It moved and yielded at my will.

I came again when days were past,

The form I gave it still it bore,

And as my fingers pressed it still,

I could change that form no more.

I took a piece of living clay,

And gently formed it day by day,

And molded with my power and art,

A young child's soft and yielding heart.

I came again when days were gone;

It was a man I looked upon,

He still that early impress bore,

And I could change it never more.

Shortly after Paul took Timothy with him, he sent him to Thessalonica.

1 Thessalonians 3:2

And we sent Timothy, our brother and God's servant in the gospel of Christ, to establish you in your faith and to exhort you.

This no doubt was just a short-term visit designed to strengthen the Thessalonians and perhaps also to deliver a letter of encouragement from Paul. But that Paul could trust this mission to the young Timothy reveals a lot about his character.

This confidence and faith in Timothy did not just happen. It was the result of years of molding by a faithful mother. Our children don’t just become worthwhile, confident, and faithful adults. It will require work on our part. We must be willing to spend the time with them, we must be willing to discipline them, and we must be willing to teach them.

A few years later we see Timothy being sent to Corinth twice to help with that church’s many problems. He was still young, but he was, by now, a seasoned veteran. He was someone in whom Paul could place absolute trust.

1 Corinthians 4:17 and 16:10

Therefore I sent to you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am.

Apparently what had happened is Timothy went to assist with the Corinthian church. Then he returned to Paul and outlined some of the problems he encountered. Paul sent him back with his famous First Letter to the Corinthians which contained important instructions for the church. It was Timothy’s job to incorporate these changes into the life of the church.

How had Timothy become such a productive, faithful, and important minister in God’s work? It all started when he was a little boy. It all started with little things. It all started from his mother Eunice training her son in the ways of God.

May we be faithful to the job that God has given us for our children. Let us not give up. And let us remember the promise of Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Footnotes:

This Study on Timothy and his Mom 1998 by David Humpal. All Rights Reserved.

All scripture unless otherwise noted are from the Revised Standard Version 1971, A. J. Holman Company

M-O-T-H-E-R from Daily Bread, May 11, slightly revised by David Humpal

Proverbs 22:6 from the King James Version

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