Today we begin our reading in Paul’s second letter to Timothy. This letter is more personal in nature than 1 Timothy and shows Paul’s heart toward his young disciple turned pastor, Timothy. Paul had been imprisoned and taken to Rome; this time he expected to be tried and executed and he wrote asking Timothy to make the journey from Ephesus to Rome quickly.
In chapter 1, Paul reminds Timothy that he first learned about faith from his grandmother, Lois and his mother, Eunice. Timothy was brought up being a witness to the lives of these women and adopted their faith as his own – a faith that Paul refers to as genuine. We learn from Acts 16:1 that although Timothy’s mother was a Jewish believer, his father was a Greek non-believer. Although I’m sure Timothy was influenced by both parents, it was the faith of his mother and grandmother that led him to Jesus.
Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m getting older, but I find myself thinking more about legacy than I ever have before. What of lasting value, will I leave behind after I’m gone? At the end of our lives it won’t be the wealth we have gained or all the toys we have acquired that will matter; it will be the way we loved God and the way we loved people.
I’m blessed to have a husband who is a believer and my best friend. We had the privilege of leading our son to Jesus and helping him develop a faith of his own as he grew. For those of us that are parents, there’s no higher calling than leading and guiding our children to faith in Jesus. Just as Lois and Eunice modeled a life a faith, we are called to do that as well. For better or worse, a child’s first picture of what God is like comes from his parents. God’s desire is that our children see love, mercy and grace in us as well as truth and discipline when needed. We will never be the perfect parent that God is, but we have a responsibility to do the best job that we possibly can.
Whether we are parents or not, as believers, we are all part of the same family and have the power to influence each other both positively and negatively. Do other members of the family see our faith as genuine? Do they see Jesus in the way we serve and love each other? Or do harsh words wound and cause pain? The most powerful legacy we can leave is our positive fingerprints on the hearts of others.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach