By CRAIG HARRIS
2 Timothy 1: 5-7 (NIV): 5 I have been 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. 6 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. 7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
The faith lived in Timothy's grandmother and then his mother and now in him. Is anyone surprised by this? Is anyone surprised that Lois passed her faith to her daughter and then Eunice passed it to her son? Isn't that how it works?
The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. This is true because our mothers have such a tremendous influence on us. Timothy was a young preacher and Paul wrote this to encourage him as he faced the challenges that come with that. Paul, in fact, was in prison for preaching the gospel. This is undoubtedly his very last letter, just before he was executed for his faith by Nero.
Paul says Timothy received the "gift of God" from Paul himself. This may mean Paul had ordained him to preach the Word and was letting him know that he was behind him, supporting him and praying for him as he ministered. And Paul wanted him to be brave, strong, and true to the faith. He knew that Timothy had learned to stand for his faith from his mother and grandmother. He states later in this letter (3:15), "and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." Timothy had been taught the Bible since childhood and now he was a minister. Mothers and grandmothers can influence their children more than they could ever know. It's a privilege and a responsibility to teach them the Word.
What about Timothy's father? We can only guess since Paul never mentions him. One thing we do know, though, is that it was Timothy's mother and grandmother who taught him the faith. I'm so thankful for my mother and grandmothers who showed me from infancy how important their faith was in their lives. And I'm thankful for my wife who has shown my children this same thing.
Autographed copies of Craig's fiction novel The Dead Peasants File are for sale at Blaser's Books in downtown Palestine. Harris is the pastor at Brushy Creek and Mt. Vernon United Methodist Churches.