Acts 16:1-5
II Timothy 1:1-10

On a hot summer day, two Jehovah Witnesses stopped their car in front of a farmhouse in Montgomery County Alabama and started up the path through a gauntlet of screaming children and barking dogs. When they knocked on the screen door, the woman of the house who was on her hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor stood up, brushed back her hair, wiped perspiration from her brow, and asked them what they wanted. “We would like to tell you how to obtain eternal life,” one student answered.
The tired mother hesitated for just a moment and then replied, “Thank you, but I don’t believe I could stand it.”

Being a mother is not a walk in the park. Would you believe that by the time a child reaches the age of 18, the average mom has had to handle 18,000 hours of child-generated work? If you do the math, that’s 2 hr. 42 min a day.

Now don’t go to thinking that I am here to give you any tips on how to cut down on those 18,000 hours. In fact, it could turn out that I might possibly add to your burden.

Because I want to talk from a Biblical perspective about mom’s highest calling. For that Biblical perspective let’s first turn to the 16th chapter of the Book of Acts where we are introduced to a guy named Timothy.

Now to be clear, what we are about to read occurred on Paul’s second missionary journey. Four or five years previous, Paul was also in Timothy’s hometown. As usual, he went first to the synagogue and preached the gospel. Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, were part of that synagogue. And when they heard Paul explain that Jesus was indeed the promised Jewish Messiah, they believed and became Christians. And they took on the responsibility to pass the torch of faith in Christ to young Timothy. With that in mind, let’s read from Acts 16:

Paul went first to Derbe and then to Lystra, where there was a young disciple named Timothy. His mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek. Timothy was well thought of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium, so Paul wanted him to join them on their journey. In deference to the Jews of the area, he arranged for Timothy to be circumcised before they left, for everyone knew that his father was a Greek. Then they went from town to town, instructing the believers to follow the decisions made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in their faith and grew larger every day. (Acts 16:1-5).

Some 25 or 30 years later, Paul is in a Roman prison knowing full well his time on earth is short and so writes his most personal letter to Timothy, who is now pastor of the prestigious church at Ephesus:

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I have been sent out to tell others about the life he has promised through faith in Christ Jesus. I am writing to Timothy, my dear son. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace. Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again. I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News. (Read II Timothy 1:1-10)

Don’t be mistaken; this message is not just for mothers. This counsel is for anyone in the sphere of influence of a child and that includes you, CrossPointe Community Church.

First, if we, like Lois and Eunice, are going to be successful in passing the torch of faith in Christ to our young people, we must make it a priority to do so.

In 2 Timothy 1:5 Paul writes, “I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and I know that same faith continues strong in you.” Lois and Eunice both seemed determined to pass along to Timothy the faith that meant so much to them.

How easy it is today to fall into the trap of get your kids involved in as many things as possible; music, scouts, sports. I did. I remember when I was zealous about my son Brian being involved in T-Ball. I remember being at a game and he was playing outfield and we looked out there and he was sitting in the grass picking dandelions.

I’m not saying that those things are wrong, but I am saying that there is something that is far more important than any of those kind of activities. For what could be more important than doing everything we can to help our kids develop a sincere faith in Christ?

I know that we all want our children to be successful in life, but what good is it if our children are successful, but they don’t know God? Jesus said, “What does it matter if they gain the whole world, but lose their souls?” (Mark 8:36).

And so we must spend some of those 18,000 hours talking to our kids about the things of God. About life and death; and about who God is and how much God loves them.

And just as important as talking is modeling. Moms, dads, if you want to instill authentic faith in your children then you better take your own faith seriously. When Robert Ingersoll, the notorious skeptic, was in his heyday, two college students went to hear him lecture. As they walked down the street afterwards, one said to the other, “I guess he knocked the props out from under Christianity, didn’t he?”

The other replied, “No, he did not explain my mother’s life. Until he can explain my mother’s life, I will stand by my mother’s God. 1

I like to think that Timothy said the same thing about his mother.

Then, when we prioritize their spiritual growth, we will pray for them.

While it isn’t specifically in the text, a mother who passes along a faith that is authentic is without a doubt a praying woman. Any home in which faith is passed on from generation to generation has to be a home of prayer. One cannot imagine Lois not praying for Eunice or Eunice not praying for Timothy.

S. D. Gordon, in his book, Quiet Talks on Prayer, writes,

The great and influential people of the earth are the people who pray for their children. I don’t mean those who talk about prayer, nor those who say they believe in prayer nor yet those who can explain prayer, but I mean those people who take time to pray. They have not time; it must be taken from something else. That something else is very important and pressing, but still less important and pressing than prayer.” 2

The devout mother of St. Augustine prayed for years for her sons’ salvation and was rewarded to see it happen in his mid-life. Sometime after his conversion to the faith Augustine wrote, “And now Thou didst stretch forth Thy hand from above and didst draw up my soul out of profound darkness because my mother, Thy faithful one wept to Thee on my behalf.” 3

How many are there here today who are because your mother or perhaps your grandmother faithfully prayed that God would touch your heart? For me, it was my nana Lucy. Who was it for you?

I pray that God would give everyone here this morning a heavy burden to pray for our children, our grandchildren or any child within our sphere of influence: to pray not just that they will be successful, but that they will be successful in discovering saving faith in Christ; to pray that they will not only be safe from harm, but also safe from slipping away from the faith; to pray not only that they will receive a good education, but that they also become educated in the ways of God.

One mother writes: “As I feed my children, I pray that God would nourish their souls; as I bathe them, I pray they will experience the spiritual cleansing Jesus provides; as I dress them, I pray that they will be clothed with righteousness.” 4

If we are going to be successful in passing the torch to children, it will begin with prayer.

And then we must instill in children an appreciation for and desire to read and understand the Bible.

In 2 Timothy 3:15 Paul writes to Timothy, “And how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.”

In the manner of devout Israelites, grandmother Lois and mother Eunice taught the Holy Scriptures to Timothy from the very beginning. It isn’t hard to imagine young Timothy listening with awe as they told him the stories about Moses and Joshua, Samson and Delilah, David and Goliath.

In addition, to the characters of the Old Testament, we are privileged to tell them the stories of Jesus: who He was, where He was born and grew up, how He had God’s seal of approval upon Him, how he could hold an audience spellbound as He told wonderful stories of God’s grace and love for all people, how He willingly allowed sinful men to cruelly nail Him to a cross so that by His death, we could be set free and by His resurrection, we could look forward to life everlasting.

And we get to tell then the stories of the early church contained in the Book of Acts; how His followers came out of hiding after they saw Him alive again to boldly tell people everywhere that, “God so loves the world that He gave His only Son so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

And about a man named Paul who initially tried to stamp out this movement of God until he met the Risen Christ and as a result of that encounter on a dusty road not only joined His followers in preaching Jesus but also wrote 13 letters that tell us among other things that, “Nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that has been revealed in Christ Jesus, our Lord” (Romans 8:38).

Moms, dads, grandparents; it is never too early to start reading the Bible to your kids and it’s never too late to start if you haven’t already. God wants to use you to instill within your children a respect for the Bible.

Now the result of praying, witnessing, and teaching them the ABC’s of the faith is that they will cultivate a desire to become ministers for Christ.

When I say ministers, I am not referring to the official title of a pastor, but rather ministers of God’s grace as all Christians should.

When Paul stopped in Lystra for the second time, he invited Timothy to be his special assistant . . . and Timothy jumped at the chance. Paul goes on to refer to Timothy as his “beloved son” in the faith. As we read the letters of I and II Timothy, we understand that as Paul approaches certain death he is content to pass the baton of his leadership over to Timothy. As hard as it probably was for Eunice to say good-bye, not knowing for sure if or when she would ever see him again, I’m sure she was proud to send her son into the Lord’s work.

Our kids are to learn the Bible and grow in their faith so that they can become difference makers in this world, allowing their Christian faith to influence everything they do so that Christ might be glorified!

Tony Campolo, author, pastor and Professor of Sociology at Upenn, said that when his wife, Peggy, was at home fulltime with their children and someone would ask, “And what is it that you do, my dear?” she would respond, “I am socializing two Homo sapiens into the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition in order that they might be instruments for the transformation of the social order into the kind of eschatological utopia that God willed from the beginning of creation.”
Then Peggy would ask the other person, “And what do you do?” 5

That’s what we get to do! God knows that the world continues to be in desperate need of Christian men and women involved at every level of our society!

So let us fully devote ourselves to this effort no matter what the cost.

Jean Fleming in her book A Woman of Influence: How to Pray for your Children writes: The aspect of mothering that excites me most is the knowledge that I am making a difference in my children’s lives. I am a woman of influence. I impart values, stimulate creativity, modify weaknesses, nurture strengths. Ultimately, my greatest desire as a mother is that my child would become a member of God’s kingdom and live for His glory.” 6

Our first President wrote, “My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the spiritual, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” 7

Moms, dads, grandparents and CrossPointers; today we are being reminded that we have the greatest privilege in the world; to pass on the torch of faith to our young people. We can make a significant spiritual impact in the lives of our loved ones. Let us fully devote ourselves to this effort no matter what the cost.



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4 Savage, Jill. Professionalizing Motherhood: Encouraging, Educating, and Equipping Mothers. [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, © 2001] Page 131.

5 Stull, Brenda. Coach Mom: Seven Strategies for Organizing Your Family into an All-Star Team. [Birmingham, Alabama: New Hope Publishers, © 2007]. Page 97.

6 Fleming, Jean. A Woman of Influence: How to Prayer for your Children.