By Stacey Monaco, Crosswalk.com
As a follower of Christ for 42 of the past 60 years, I have spent hours digging into and pouring over Scripture, seeking to better know this Jesus, who chose to give his life to ransom me back from my own missteps and penchant for wandering.
I can remember even decades into my study of the Bible that I struggled reading lineages as if they were obstacles to get through, and I often had a lingering sense that the stories of men and women in the Bible were just that, stories.
On some level I understood that the people named had actually lived, but still I was lacking the impactful truth that not only had they lived, but they were human beings who wrestled, walked in faith or failed to, and each in some way had volumes to teach me as I sought to grow in my relationship with God.
I recall clearly a Sunday sermon where my pastor reminded our congregation of the truths we would uncover as we studied the lives of the women and men found on the pages of each book of the Bible. He noted emphatically that they were actual people with problems, hopes, dreams, families, and work responsibilities, and while our goal was not to emulate nor harshly judge any of those named, as a part of the epic story contained in Scripture, their lives had instructive value.
This sermon began a journey in my reading of the Bible that caused me to marvel at the women and men named in the lineage of Jesus, and then those in both the Old and the New Testament that risked their lives to carry the message of the Gospel forward, and help Christians through the ages to better follow Christ.
The apostle Paul is recorded in 1 Corinthians 11:1, as encouraging the first century Christians to “Follow my example, as I follow Christ.” He states this upon the heels of these words, “For I am not seeking my own good but the good of the many, so that they may be saved” 1 Cor. 10:33b. One of those Paul was likely to have impacted on an early mission journey was Lois, known as the mother of Eunice, and the grandmother of Timothy.
2 Timothy 1:5 records Lois as a woman of “sincere faith” that she passed to her daughter, and to her grandson Timothy, who eventually became Paul’s companion and partner in the itinerant mission field.
As Lois followed Christ, she had a clear and lasting influence on her household that can be seen to have had an impact on the good of generations to come through the mission work of Timothy, and the correspondence from Paul to Timothy. Lois, Eunice, and Timothy were real people with real faith carrying the gospel message forward.
As grandparents, we may find ourselves pondering our impact on our children and grandchildren alike, especially when it comes to the hope that our lives will have a transformative influence for Christ on future generations.
As a faith-filled grandmother, the life of Lois gives us 3 powerful lessons exemplifying the influence we can have on future generations.
1. Be an Example of a Firm and Lively Faith
“Love the Lord with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5
Paul’s mention of Lois in 2 Timothy highlights that the “sincere faith” he sees in Timothy first lived in his grandmother Lois, and then was passed to his mother and to him. As a woman born into the Jewish faith, Lois would have been taught to love God in a lively manner, studying the scriptures of old, and looking forward to a promised Messiah.
Timothy’s father was likely absentee and not of the Jewish faith, evidenced by his Greek heritage, as well as the lack of following the Israelite custom of circumcision when Timothy was a baby.
This fact alone gave Lois every reason to distance herself from her daughter Eunice, and her grandson Timothy, but had she done so, she would have no opportunity to example the faith she had found in Jesus Christ, as well as the love that flows from being guided by his Spirit.
Lois must have courageously chosen to stand firmly rooted in her love of God, and in the promise of a coming Messiah. Having found this “pearl of great price” in the message of the gospel, Lois exhibited her newfound faith in Jesus through actively participating in the need-laden lives of her daughter and grandson.
Loving God with the whole of our being translates into actively loving others as we love him, and he loves us. We can only example a firm and lively faith when we have a genuine concern for others acted out in generosity, loving-kindness, and the giving of our time and energy.
A true and living faith over-shadows our own self-interest and protection of our reputation, to example the love of Christ in tangible ways.
Lois models the ideal that one godly influence can have the power to counteract those influences that may tug against a faith-filled life. While Timothy may have been in a less than ideal situation in receiving spiritual direction from his father, Lois counteracted this deficit with a firm and lively faith that flowed into Timothy’s mother and then into Timothy.
As grandparents, we can take heart that as we live out our faith before our children and grandchildren, we can have hope that it may leave an eternal impact.
2. Be Faithful to Leave a Tangible Legacy of Love
As a mother and grandmother, and just one woman who loves Jesus in the midst of a vast world with a past and a future population that is beyond my scope to even consider, I often wonder what kind of an impact I can have on my own household, let alone the world around me.
I wonder how Lois felt on the day her daughter chose to marry outside of the Jewish faith. Did she feel a failure? Could she have done a better job translating her love of God to her daughter, or perhaps more thoroughly lived out the tenets and history of the Jewish scriptures?
I am right there with Lois.
Questions arise as to my own broken failures, and the days that I wanted my own ways, more than I valued those of my loving Father. In short, I failed over and again.
As for Lois, time and scripture staunchly stand to show that rather than muddle in the flaws and failures, Lois kept choosing to look for her longed-for Savior, and did not give up on the hope of passing her faith to her daughter, Eunice, as well as to her grandson, Timothy. Lois lived out in her own home, the missional call that is given to every Christian by Jesus himself, when he said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” as recorded in Matthew 28:19
To consider the true eternal impact of Lois on the kingdom of God through her own life, and through the life of her grandson Timothy, can hearten each of us that as we walk out our faith in the daily, we can become life-changers for generations to come.
To think with a biblical mindset as we approach our failures, and our own process of growth in being formed to be more like Christ, we can take joy in knowing, that as we seek to be faithful, we can ask God to let us leave a tangible legacy of love as Lois did, and he will do beyond what we can hope for or imagine.
3. Continue in What You Have Learned
A faith that is winsome is also a faith that is wise, having a firm understanding of scripture that can be handed down accurately through word and deed to those who come into our circle of influence.
In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he encourages him with this message;
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from who you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:14-15
I can imagine Timothy rocked in the arms of his grandmother and mother, as they prayed over him and gifted him with a sweet inheritance of a learned faith. We may be the only spiritual influence in the lives of those we pull up into our laps, or we may be a name in a lineage of those who have studied the scriptures and carried forth the faith in their own households and beyond.
My grandmother carried a love of Jesus before me, and my father sat in his easy chair as a promise to her reading his bible daily. His faith bloomed later in life, and I carry that in my soul.
The name Lois appears in scripture with honor as one who handled the word of God wisely and well. As a student of her Jewish faith, Lois was readied for the message of a Savior come, and despite obstacles and impediments she faithfully worked out her unfeigned faith with careful attention to scripture continuing in what she had learned.
We have this same opportunity, to learn from Lois, and those who came before us, and yes, actually lived, and to continue in what we have learned in a faith-filled and life-changing manner.
In the example of Lois, as she lived out Deuteronomy 4:9, we can make the scriptures known “to our children and our children’s children.”
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Halfpoint
Stacey Monaco is the proud mother of six, plus two, and has five grand-one’s ranging from nine years old to two. She has been writing professionally on and off for over thirty-five years, and has a Masters in Christian Leadership from the Talbot School of Theology.