Read at beginning of service:
Ephesians 6:2-3 (NIV)
2 “Honor your father and mother”–which is the first commandment with a promise– 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
2 Timothy 1:1-5 (NIV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
Eunice was a single mother in a scary world. She was a Jewish believer in Jesus. She?d been married to a Greek unbeliever, who?d either left or died. Like today, raising a child in a single parent home, was no picnic.
Then again, there are times of compensation. A little boy invaded the dress department of a big department store and said to the salesperson, “I want to buy my mom a dress, but I don?t know what size.” “Is she tall or short, fat, or skinny?” asked the clerk. “Well, she?s just perfect,” answered the boy. So the clerk wrapped-up a “size 8” for him. Two day?s later Mom came and exchanged the dress for a “size 16.”
Eunice?s boy Timothy was that kind of compensation. And there were good reasons. Eunice was a wise and spiritually-strong mother. Her priorities were learned at her mother Lois? knee, and passed along to Tim. The world pushes transitory values – money, position, power and fame. You can sense that with a quick look at the TV lineup for most evenings – American Idol, Fear Factor, Survivor, Wheel of Fortune, Amazing Race and many more.
Mother?s Day is a good day to review the basics of a mother?s priorities. We find these in 2 Timothy 3:15-17. Paul is writing to a young pastor which he had taken under his wing to train. Let?s look-in on the review Paul conducted with his young prot?g?? named Timothy.
Priority #1: Savior
2 Timothy 3:15 (NLT)
You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.
INTRODUCE AND EXPECT
Eunice led her boy Timothy to know the Lord Jesus Christ. She taught him about Jesus, and expected that he would accept Christ as Savior.
It is right that this anticipation would be there ? for?
Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)
Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it.
When a mother anticipates, prays and leads toward Christ, she has every right to expect the cooperation of God in bringing her child to the Lord. This sounds simple; but it is not easy…or cheap. Susannah Wesley (mother of great figures in church history, John Wesley and Charles Wesley) is said to have prayed one hour every day for her children. She was strict. But she was unselfishly faithful. She had six rules for teaching her children the priority of the Savior:
1. Subdue self-will in a child.
2. Teach him to pray as soon as he can speak.
3. Give him nothing he cries for, and only what is good for him when he asks politely.
4. Punish no fault confessed, but let no sinful act to go unnoticed.
5. Reward good behavior.
6. Strictly observe all promises you have made to your child.
What is so familiar about these rules is it is exactly the way the Lord treats us. Knowing the love of the mother up-close and personal, the children will learn to love the love of the Father in heaven.
Priority #2: Scripture
2 Timothy 3:15a (NIV)
?and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures?
2 Timothy 3:16a (NIV)
?all Scripture is God-breathed?
TEACH THEM YOUNG
Eunice taught her son the scriptures starting at a very young age. Jewish boys start formal instruction in the Scriptures at age 5; younger than that is not too soon. It is said that Susannah Wesley had 19 children. (Whew!) What is more, this mother of Charles and John Wesley took each child aside for an hour every week to discuss and teach them the principles of spiritual living. Those two sons touched two continents for Christ.
The best formula I know for teaching children is to
Bring them to church on Sunday;
Bring to the Bible every day
Apply what is learned all throughout week.
Mothers, nobody will MAKE you do this. In fact, it is just the opposite today. With God removed from public places and the schools faithfully teaching secular humanism, your child has little chance of growing up to be a Timothy, or with any kind of Christian values, unless YOU teach him!
With all the demands of today?s world, is this just another pressure, a burden, a further complication? When do single mothers and working mothers have time for “Susannah Wesley mothering?” Relax, dear mother. If you will have a priority in your own life for God?s Word, and simply live it before your children, and be ready to answer their questions, you will be teaching them.
On the other hand, if you won?t live it, don?t bother to teach it in any other way. They will learn what you live. A child that sees her mother carry a Bible to church, but never opens it from Monday to Saturday knows that Christianity is only for Sunday.
Priority #3: Service
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
All of Timothy?s instruction in the Word, and God?s way had to do with preparing him for service to the Lord (every good work). As we learn in Acts (16:1-5),
Acts 16:1-5 (NIV)
1 He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. 2 The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.
Timothy?s good reputation had its start in his mother?s good reputation. Often the best legacy we can leave our children is not a pile of money or possessions, but the simple fact of a good name. Eunice?s reputation replicated itself in her son, and Paul had no trouble taking a chance on this young man. Eunice served, Timothy followed.
Many good men and faithful servants of God have the same testimony. A great Baptist preacher, G. Campbell Morgan had four sons. They all became preachers. At a family reunion a friend asked one of the sons, “Which Morgan is the greatest preacher?” With his eyes beaming with delight, the son looked over to his father and said, “Why, it?s Mother!”
Mother, is your child ready to serve God?
Are you preparing that son or daughter with Scripture, learned by you both at church and practiced at home?
Are you leading that child to the Savior?
Are you leading that child to His Service? Or is he unmotivated, unequipped and undirected; is he unprepared to meet the spirit of this age?
What will your child say when the world, peer pressure, and the culture of Christlessness challenges his faith and drives home its message against Jesus with materialism, relativism and rationalization?
Can we talk?
If the truth be known, when a child is born there are at least two emotions – great joy (A CHILD IS BORN!)….and Oh MY! (NOW WHAT DO I DO?) As wonderful as being a mother is….it is just that scary to raise a child today. There are thousands of books from Dr. Spock to Dr. Ruth. We are bombarded with suggestions and authority from our own mothers to Oprah and everything in between. What?s a mother to do?
Dump the trends and fads.
Be a godly woman.
Get your priorities in order: SAVIOR…SCRIPTURE… SERVICE
Mother and Father are not honorary titles – they are working job descriptions. Having these priorities in place will never guarantee an easy time of the job, but it can turn your legacy into what was shown in a cartoon in the Saturday Evening Post – a young boy about five or six years old talking on the telephone, saying, “Mom is in the hospital, the twins and Roxie and Billie and Sally and the dog and me and Dad are all home alone.”
Mothers (and Dads), don?t leave the mission to the preacher, Sunday School teacher or anyone when it comes to your precious children. A Spanish proverb says: An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy. YOU lead them to the Savior; YOU teach them the Scripture; YOU prepare them for service. You be a mother on mission!