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The Faith That Flows from Mother

2 Timothy 1:5-7

5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. 6 For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; 7 for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.

I. Entering

On this day that we honor mothers, it’s good for us to think about how much you really do. Being a mother is not a walk in the park... By the time a child reaches 18, a mother has had to handle some extra 18,000 hours of child-generated work.

Someone wrote, “This is the day mothers are rewarded for washing sheets in the middle of the night, driving kids to school when they missed the bus, and enduring all those football and soccer games in the rain. It's a day of appreciation for making your children finish something they said they couldn't do, not believing them when they said, 'I hate you,' and sharing their good times and their bad.”

A Junior High science teacher lectured on the properties of magnets for an entire class. The next day he gave his students a quiz. The first question read like this: “My name begins with an “M,” has six letters, and I pick things up. What am I?” Half the kids in the class wrote, “Mother.”

My dad and I were talking one day about how influential mothers are, when my mother went on vacation with her old friends to China. While we were talking I remembered hearing this quote: “If daddy is not happy, who cares? If momma is not happy, no one can be happy!” He laughed and said, “That’s true in our house.” I think it’s probably true in ours as well.

I’m also aware that Mother’s Day is a difficult time for some of you. Maybe you want to be a mother but you can’t be for some reason: Perhaps some of you have not had the best mother in the world: Some of you have had a mother who has died: Some of you mothers have lost a child to death: Some of you mothers feel the pain of a wayward child this morning: And, some of you are flying solo as you work hard to nurture your child’s faith.

Whoever you are, you are the most beautiful gift from God for us, and because of you, lives can be born, nurtured and sustained.

II. Story of Timothy

I’d like to introduce you a young woman named Eunice. She was a Jewish woman, raised in a religious home and was greatly impacted by her mother Lois. She loved to learn the stories from the Bible when she was young and enjoyed going to services where she could learn about God. As she approached her teenage years, she was still focused on spiritual matters but she became attracted to a young man who was not into religion at all. Against the best wishes of her godly mother, the teaching of her faith, she married the man.

After a couple years of marriage, Eunice and her husband had a baby boy who they named Timothy. In the meantime, Eunice’s dad had died so they asked her mother Lois to come and live with them. Little Timmy was a delight to everyone. Both his mother and grandmother spent hours with him, teaching him the stories of the Hebrew Bible, praying with him and for him, and training him in the things of God. While they didn’t have any Veggie Tale videos or VBS program nearby, they created a spiritual environment where tiny Tim could flourish.

Then, one day, a preacher named Paul came to their town of Lystra and spoke about a man named Jesus. Both Lois and Eunice listened intently. They saw in Jesus the fulfillment of all the promises in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and placed their trust in Him and were converted to Christianity. These new believers in turn focused on teaching Timothy all about who Jesus was.

Later, Paul and Timothy partner together in ministry as the gospel continues to spread throughout the area. Many years later, while Paul is in prison, awaiting his execution, he writes two letters to young Timothy. These letters contain some teaching about how Timothy should behave as a church leader and are also filled with some reminiscing and nostalgia on Paul’s part. As Paul writes these letters, 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy, he reflects on the mothers who made an impact in Tim’s life.

III. Lois and Eunice didn't give the faith, but lived in it.

2 Timothy 1:5 shows us what this truth was: “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.”

In the manner of devout Israelites, grandmother Lois and mother Eunice taught the Holy Scriptures to Timothy from the very beginning. Lois and Eunice teamed up to provide high-powered Bible Study Fellowship classes for young Timothy - even before he could crawl! They read to him, they talked about Samson and Samuel, David and Ruth, Abraham and Noah. They did everything they could provide Timothy with the opportunity to learn all he could about the Bible.

Important to notice here that Paul didn’t say Lois and Eunice “gave” Timothy their faith, but it says that Lois and Eunice “lived” first in the faith and now the faith lived in Timothy. Timothy had seen both mother and grandmother live in faith and now he is also exhibiting his faith in the Lord, as the faith flowed from mother and grandmother to his life. Timothy is a 3rd generation of followers of Christ in his family. Paul saw Lois and Eunice’s faith living in Timothy.

Once, four scholars were arguing over Bible translations. One said he preferred the King James Version because of its beauty and eloquent old English. Another said he liked the New American Standard Version for its literalism and how it moves the reader from passage to passage with confident feelings of accuracy from the original text. The third scholar was sold on the New Living Translation for its use of contemporary phrases and idioms that capture the meaning of difficult ideas. After being quiet for a moment, the fourth scholar admitted: “I have personally preferred my mother’s translation.” When the other scholars started laughing, he said, “Yes, she translated the Scriptures. My mom translated each page of the Bible into life. It is the most convincing translation I have ever read.”

Mothers and grandmothers, you are the most important person in your children and grandchildren’s life and their faith in Christ.

IV. Mother's way

The word, “sincere” in verse 5 related to faith means that it was “unhypocritical.” Faith had come and taken up residence in his mother’s heart and in his grandmother’s heart - and was now alive in his own life. Literally it flowed from mother and grandmother to Timothy.

I heard recently about a pastor who had a long conversation with someone about becoming a member of his church. When the young man said, he was ready to join, the pastor was curious so he asked him, “What did I say that convinced you to join the church?” The man answered, “My mother’s prayer and life guided me to join the church. Absolutely, it was the way my mother lived.”

Timothy’s family environment was fertile to his faith development. Both his mother and his grandmother held their faith deeply and shared it freely.

Mothers and grandmothers, please remember that your children grow in the faith that you have lived in, and people see your faith in your children’s life. It’s the highest praise that you can give to your God.

V. Ending

In 2004, A British Council survey of 40,000 people in 102 non-English-speaking countries have put these words at the top of a 70- strong list.

Lollipop, flip-flop, and banana were chosen, along with twinkle, hiccup, hodgepodge, whoops, freedom, liberty, peace, renaissance and destiny, are also high in the list.

And thousands of people around the world have voted it the most beautiful word in the English language, and it is the word mother. And there is no room in the list for father.

Your name, mother, is the most beautiful and influential to your children and in this world.

I want to close this morning by reading a poem entitled, “My Mother.”

My Mother

Your love, I know—I’ve seen your tears;

You’ve given to me my life.

You’ve walked through hours and days and years

Of heartache, toil and strife.

To see that I could have the best

That you could give to me,

You gave up needs and often rest— You viewed eternity.

To do His will my highest call and by your special care

I stood and walked and did not fall, you held me up in prayer.

Though strands of gray may brush your hair,

and miles divide our way,

I know that by your quiet prayer

You’ve helped me day by day.

You’ve shown me how to give,

to share to put my own needs last.

You’ve helped me see and be aware

That life is so soon past.

To spite your love

I would not dare,

For there’s not another

Who spreads her gentle love and care Like you—My Loving Mother.

Proverbs 31:30 says that, “a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” We praise God for those mothers who worship and adore the Lord and who flows this legacy freely on to their children.

Amen. Happy Mother’s Day.

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