A Legacy of Faith
Every parent, Christian or not, who loves their children wants the best for them. They sacrifice to give their children a good life. They work hard to provide food and shelter. Sometimes, they need to seek help from outside of themselves, and they swallow their pride and do it for the sake of their children. Jesus even said that evil fathers know what good gifts for their children are (Luke 11:11-13). So, what is good for your children?
This is where the Christian worldview is so radically different from the worldview of the culture. The culture may say that “good” means wealth, health, status, or influence. It may say that “good” means having a nice car, a big house, and a great job. It may even say “good” means academic success, tons of friends, or a lot of trophies.
And the truth is that nothing about those things is inherently bad or evil, and given the right motives, some of those things can be good. But, from the Christian perspective, good and best are not necessarily the same thing. In fact, as the saying goes, good is often the enemy of best. So, let’s rephrase our question. What is best for your children?
But maybe we as Christians need to ask a different question entirely of ourselves and our children:
Are you living your life as a living sacrifice for Jesus, for His praise, for His honor, for His glory?
The apostle Paul is a spiritual father to many through the ages, and he wrote two letters to Timothy, one of his “children in the faith.” Paul was taking his role seriously and instructing Timothy about a life well lived. In addition to the instruction and advice Paul gave, he also appealed to two other people in Timothy’s life – Timothy’s biological mother and grandmother.
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 as well.
And we see later in this letter why Paul is reminded of them…
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 make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Paul reminds Timothy not only what he learned about Jesus, salvation, and wisdom but also from whom he learned it. Paul reminds him that “believing in” is related to “learning about” and that his mother and grandmother both possessed this faith. A faith they did not hide from Timothy and a faith that did not let Timothy “figure things out on his own.” Their faith was an active faith, a practiced faith, a proclaimed faith.
They proclaimed it and lived it and demonstrated it to Timothy from his childhood. Paul is calling Timothy to remember from whom he learned it (Lois and Eunice), what he learned (“sacred writings”), then why they taught him (“to make you wise for salvation”), and finally, how that all happens…
… through faith in Christ Jesus.
Parents, is your home a place where your faith is proclaimed and demonstrated?
Is your home a place where you are all reminded about the wisdom of salvation that is found in the scriptures?
Is your home a place where a faith legacy is remembered?
Is your home a place that is just beginning a faith legacy to be remembered?
Is your home a place where your faith in Christ Jesus is on full display, not hidden under a bushel, but put on your mantle, on your dinner table, in your entertainment, in your discussions?
If so, praise God! Never grow weary of doing good!
If not, wouldn’t today be a great time to start? God redeems lost time and lost opportunities as well as lost souls – there is no time like the present to start!
The New Testament was still being written when Paul wrote to Timothy, so the “sacred writings” he is referring to were what we now call the Old Testament. Paul commends Lois and Eunice for their handling of it, because they handled it in accordance with this…
Deuteronomy 6:4–9: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
And they all, through the teaching of the apostles, knew this…
2 Timothy 3:16–17: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Timothy was equipped for his good work of leading the church at Ephesus by the word breathed out by God (the scriptures, the sacred writings that equip you for every good work) that were taught to him and demonstrated for him by his grandmother and his mother, by Paul, and likely by many others.
Christian, with the scriptures, you ARE equipped for every good work, including raising your children!
Do you believe it? Do you live it out? Do you teach it and demonstrate it to your children?
Lois believed it and lived it for Eunice, and Eunice believed it and lived it for Timothy. Paul believed it and lived it for Timothy.
And Timothy believed it, and as the leader of the church at Ephesus, lived it for many others.
That’s a legacy, that’s a life well lived.
That’s certainly good. But it’s not just good.
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