How This Mom and Grandma from the Bible Remind Us of the Power of Small Acts of Faith
Paul went on to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman, but his father was a Greek. (Acts 16:1)
Timothy was Paul’s protégé, partner in ministry, and friend. He was also the son of a Jewish mother and a Gentile father. Such family dynamics were likely unusual at the time, and it is interesting that Timothy grew up to follow in his mother’s faith footsteps. While we cannot know for sure what went on in Timothy’s family, we can draw some conclusions from the words of Paul in his letters to Timothy.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, for the sake of the promise of life in Christ Jesus:
To Timothy, my dearly loved son. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, when I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day. Remembering your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I recall your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and now, I am convinced, is in you also. Therefore, I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.
(2 Timothy 1:1-7)
When Paul wrote to Timothy, encouraging him in his faith and in his ministry, the first thing he mentioned was Timothy’s upbringing. In his efforts to bolster Timothy’s resolve to spread the gospel and shepherd the church, Paul appealed to Timothy’s family legacy of belief. While Paul seemed to view Timothy as his spiritual son, he also acknowledged the great impact Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, had in his life.
How Could Home Life Impact the Spread of the Gospel?
As Paul mentions later, Lois and Eunice taught Timothy “the sacred Scriptures” (2 Timothy 3:14-15) – something he needed to lean on while in the trenches of ministry in the early church. When Paul first encountered Timothy, he recognized quickly how solid his faith was and how deep his spiritual knowledge ran. In more than one place in the Bible, Paul notes that this was a direct result of Timothy’s mom and grandma teaching him. Clearly, he respected the way Lois and Eunice taught Timothy, both in word and deed.
It’s possible that Lois and Eunice were unable to teach Timothy as much or as often as they would have liked, since his father was Greek and, therefore, did not believe as they did. They were likely not the only spiritual influences in Timothy’s life, for Greeks had their own forms of religious beliefs. But they stayed true to what they knew and believed, and they lived out their faith in their home and in front of young Timothy. Their example, combined with whatever Scriptures and lessons they were able to impart to their son and grandson, created in Timothy a strong foundation upon which God was able to build a ministry that had incredible, lasting effects.
A Small Life of Great Faithfulness Can Change the World
Lois and Eunice may not have led hundreds of people to the Lord. They may not have died for their faith or shared it in a stadium full of people. All we know for sure is that they taught Timothy, their grandson and son, to know and fear the Lord. They were known for their sincere faith, which affected Timothy at a young age, and in turn, influenced the spread of the gospel throughout the first century.
Timothy traveled with Paul throughout the Roman world, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. The daily faithfulness of Lois and Eunice to teach Timothy the Scriptures and model genuine faith in front of him influenced many more people than Timothy. Lois and Eunice embraced their spiritual commitment to their son and grandson, and their daily leadership and example allowed many to come to faith in Christ as Timothy walked out the faith they had passed down to him.
What Difference Can Your Acts of Faithfulness Make?
If you’re disappointed with the small influence you have, remember Lois and Eunice. If you’re frustrated by competing influences that seem to drown out the message God has given you to share, remember Lois and Eunice. If you wonder how you could possibly be making a difference by leading faithfully in your home, in your small community, in the confines of the place God has led you, remember Lois and Eunice!
When you trust God with His plan for your life, following and serving Him no matter how unexpected or unusual an assignment He gives you, He will use you. Small acts of faith matter in big ways. We never know what God can or will do with our obedience; we just know He requires it. And when we give it, when we follow Him, when we lead others to His truth, we are joining the ranks of women of sincere faith, women quietly doing Kingdom work, women like Lois and Eunice.
May you remember the story of Lois and Eunice when you feel discouraged in your own life. Remember that changing one person’s life could actually change the world, that obeying the Lord in small acts of faith can turn into something incredible in His hands. May you offer God and the world everything you have, believing with confidence that He will multiply it so His will is done and the world is changed.
Mary Carver is a writer, speaker, and recovering perfectionist. She lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons, but she lives because of God’s grace. Mary writes with humor and honesty about giving up on perfect and finding truth in unexpected places on her blog, MaryCarver.com. She is the co-author of Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts, as well as a regular contributor to (in)courage and MomAdvice.com. Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.
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