Listen to Your Mother!


Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,

To Timothy, my beloved child:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 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. 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, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
-2 Timothy 1:1-13 (ESV)

“The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men — from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms.” –Oliver Wendell Holmes

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” –Abraham Lincoln

Mothers have an enormous influence on whether or not true faith passes on to the next generation. In 2 Timothy 1:1-13, the apostle Paul reminds his young friend that it was the vital faith of his mother and grandmother that led to his life of faith and ministry. He seems to be encouraging Timothy to do what characterized their lives, telling him to do three things:

  • Fan the flame of the Holy Spirit inside him. It is only the power of the Spirit that emboldens us to tell others about the life-saving and healing message of the Gospel.
  • Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed of the Gospel since it’s the greatest power anywhere to rescue people and help them through their grief and despair.
  • Guard the Good News of the truth given to him. All truth needs to be protected, because there is always a counter-explanation for everything, whether we’re talking about God, science, or politics. And what needs to be protected and defended isn’t church tradition and custom, but the basic facts of the Gospel: Jesus’ payment on the cross for all our sin, his bodily resurrection from the dead, that he is the unique and sole Savior of the world, and that he is coming again to rule over all the powers and nations on earth.

So our job is to cling to these truths, to be faithful witnesses to them by declaring them boldly, and to stun the world with our selfless actions and loving behavior.

So where’s the good news? And what are we called to do?

1) The good news is the Good News. We have an eternal rescue from sin and death through Jesus Christ and a destiny that far exceeds anyone’s wildest imaginations.

2) We are called to go out and live this truth boldly and joyfully, not to tie it up in a neat box and keep it inside a building. And through knowing this truth comes spectacular freedom.

God bless you and yours this Mother’s Day.


Photo by John C. Bruckman via Flickr.

John I. Snyder
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