I don’t think I fully understood the influence my mother had on my life until you I got older and became a parent. Each of us are greatly influenced by our mothers. That’s why I want to take a moment to honor our mothers; to thank them for all the effort they have given through the years. I also want to look at 2 Timothy 1:1-7, because I believe it is a powerful reminder to each of us that we have tremendous influence in the lives of our children and grandchildren. Three things I believe we can learn from 2 Timothy 1:1-7.
#1 LIVE YOUR FAITH
Mothers, it is so important to live your faith. It is more important than all the lectures you give because your children are always watching. It doesn’t do any good to talk about love and then show selfishness, to talk about patience and then blow up. Live your faith the best you can because your children are watching.
Paul attributes Timothy’s faith to his mother, Eunice and his grandmother, Lois. In this time, much like our world, today, there was much that Timothy could have given himself to. He wasn’t living in a Christian world; it was a wild, pagan world. But, he chose to give himself to Christ and the church because was inspired by the way his mother and grandmother lived. He must have realized that he wanted to lead that same kind of life. Mothers, grandmothers, never forget that the most important thing you can do is, live your faith.
#2 HELP THEM DISCOVER THEIR GIFT
The next thing you can do is help your children discover the gift that God has given them. God blesses everyone with a gift or many gifts. Paul reminded Timothy of this. Timothy discovered he could preach and he could mediate between groups that were struggling; he was a leader in the church. As a parent, one of the great temptations we have is to try to live our children’s lives for them. Our responsibility is to help our children discover the gift that God has given them; not to determine their dreams and goals that you impose, but to help them discover who they are and the gifts God has given them.
#3 SET THEM FREE
The third and most difficult thing we have to do as parents is to set our children free. To bring a baby into the world, to love and nurture them, to provide disciple and show them the way, to help them find their gift and then set them free to be the person God calls them to be; that is difficult! Think about Lois and Eunice, I’m sure they would have loved for Timothy to stay home so they could have him nearby; they loved him, they needed him to provide and care for them, but Timothy heard the call of Christ to become the traveling companion of Paul, to visit other churches. It was going to be dangerous. Paul had been shipwrecked, stoned, whipped and put into prison. This is the life Timothy chose. No mother wants to see her children hurt. We will do anything to try to protect our children from being harmed. I’m sure Eunice and Lois wanted to encourage Timothy to stay home where he would be safe and secure, but that’s not what they did! They said, you have heard the call of God in your life, you have found out who you are, so Timothy, go be who God calls you to be.
That’s a tough thing to do. The great temptation is to try to protect our children from getting hurt, because we love them! Mothers raise your children, you love them, you live your faith, you help them find their dreams, then you set them free to be who God calls them to be. It was Tennyson who said, “God gives us love, but something to love, He lends us.”As much as it hurts, your children are not yours to keep. You are called to love them and set them free. And for that, we honor and thank you for the great influence you have in this life.