Here we are just two short months after the She Steps Forward conference and the word legacy continues to swirl in my head. As we built up to conference, we introduced you to some awesome women of the Bible and the roles they played in moving the Gospel message along. Some were front and center. Others seemed to blend into the fabric of Jewish life. All were important!
Today, I have two women to introduce you to and the substantial role they played in one man’s life. Indeed, their story is one of legacy.
Before I introduce you to them, let me introduce you to Timothy. Timothy was a young, faithful disciple in the Christian faith. His character and reputation were so outstanding that when Paul came through Lystra on his second missionary journey, he immediately engaged Timothy (Acts 16:1-3). Paul’s choice to have Timothy travel with him gives us a sense of how valuable Paul thought Timothy’s presence would be during the next round of encouraging established churches and planting new ones. Paul would exhort him repeatedly during their relationship, calling him “my true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2 NLT) and telling Timothy not to let people look down on him due to his youth (1 Timothy 4:12). Paul’s love for this spiritual son is obvious in his writings. It is also very evident how much Paul trusted Timothy when you read through the instructions he gave Timothy for the church in Ephesus – a church Paul left Timothy in charge of overseeing.
Timothy was undoubtedly the recipient of a strong and consistent upbringing. His faith emerged at an early age. He stuck to his convictions despite being surrounded by a pagan culture and some new, unruly believers. In fact, Paul describes Timothy as possessing a “genuine faith” (2 Timothy 1:5 NLT).
If we revisit Acts 16:1, we discover that Timothy’s father was Greek, and therefore was most likely a nonbeliever. As this is the only mention of Timothy’s father in scripture, we can conclude that he most likely was not a part of Timothy’s life at the point Paul enters the picture. It would also explain Paul’s adoption of Timothy as a son and the way Paul affectionately mentors Timothy as they work together in person and from afar.
So where did Timothy get his knowledge of Christianity from? Included in that simple scripture in Acts is the first clue. Timothy’s mother was a Jewish believer (Acts 16:1). Now, we are starting to get the picture, aren’t we? Then in 2 Timothy, Paul clearly tells us who provided a rock solid foundation for Timothy’s faith. Enter Lois and Eunice!
I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. 2 Timothy 1:5 NLT
Not only was Timothy raised by a faith-filled mother, but he was also privileged to have a faith-filled grandmother watching over him!
Now we don’t know much more about these ladies except that their raising of Timothy was intentional in nature. In 2 Timothy 3, we find one last glimpse into the life of this family.
But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 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. (verses 14-15 NLT)
And there we have it! The women in Timothy’s life made all the difference in the world. Without the faithfulness of his grandmother and his mother in teaching him God’s word, Timothy may have become a statistic in his time. Half Greek, half Jew and fatherless, Timothy may have taken up with the wrong crowd. His youthful energy could have led him into a life of darkness and misfortune. But Lois and Eunice would have none of it.
While raising Timothy, I wonder how often they both thought back to Proverbs 22:6. Even as women, the stories of King Solomon and all his adventures would have been told to Lois and Eunice somewhere in their upbringing. And yet, Solomon’s powerful teachings would have also been passed on from generation to generation. No, I imagine Lois and Eunice had a great vision for Timothy and spoke words of affirmation over him from the time he was born. Even his name was most likely carefully chosen – Timothy in Greek means “honoring God.” Coincidence? I think not.
Lois and Eunice may have thought they were only raising a child, but what they did was create a legacy. Because they instilled in Timothy a love for God that was pure and true, he earned the love, respect, and admiration of Paul. He would go on to be one of the most notable and recognizable workers in the Church.
In John Maxwell’s book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, he talks about the Law of Legacy. Simply put, he summarizes “A leader’s lasting value is measured by succession.” Now, I’m not sure if either Lois or Eunice ever considered themselves as leaders, but I would say that Timothy’s life (their succession) was a great indication of how well they led Timothy in his. And the Church was all the better for it.
I hope as women we are all striving to leave a legacy as positive and powerful as the one left by Lois and Eunice. You could be raising up an amazing son or daughter right now who will go on to do great things for the Kingdom in a variety of ways. Or, like Paul, you could be playing a pivotal role in someone’s else life by being a spiritual paternal figure to them. Either way, life will go on without you someday. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that when you stand before God in Heaven, He can smile at the legacy you left?
My dear sister, it is never too late to start shaping a brighter future!
Founder, Transforming Love Ministries
Creator, She Steps Forward Women’s Conference
Please note all scripture was taken from the NLT – New Living Translation
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Maxwell, John C. (2007). The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You, Revised & Updated 10th Anniversary Edition. Nashville: Thomas Nelson (pg. 257)