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Legacy of love: Lessons from Timothy's childhood

Two women poured the love of Jesus into Timothy and changed the world

Legacy is defined as the long-lasting impact of a person’s life. Legacy is what's passed on from one generation to the next: the good or the bad. 

In Scripture, we find two women who passed on a legacy of love and because of their investment in one young child, that legacy changed their world and advanced God’s Kingdom. 

That child was Timothy. 

Timothy was a boy whose father was Greek and most likely a non-believer and his mother was a Jewish believer. His father wasn’t engaged in his upbringing and some scholars think he probably died early in Timothy’s life. Timothy grew to be a young follower of Christ who was noticed by Paul on his second missionary journey through his hometown, Lystra. Timothy’s faith, reputation and character stood out and Paul invited Timothy to travel with him.

If you know anything of Paul, you know he was very selective when it came to his companions. Paul would mentor Timothy and often referred to him as his “true son in the faith.” Paul trusted Timothy so much that eventually he gave Timothy the church at Ephesus to pastor. 

How did this young boy who was half-Greek, half-Jew, fatherless, grow into the faithful follower of Christ we learn about in Scripture? 

It was because of the legacy of love of Jesus passed on to him by his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois.

"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

I can identify with Timothy and the legacy of his grandmother and mother. My grandmother, Byrd Jane, was a faithful prayer warrior who passed on her name and her faith to my mom, Jane Elaine. My mom, having experienced unconditional love and was raised by a strong woman of faith, passed on to me not only her name (I’m Jane Ann) but also her faith and devotion to prayer. And I now have passed on that name to my daughter, Cara Jane and my granddaughter, Ellie Jane.

But a name is not enough. I want to pass on that legacy of love for Christ to all my children and all my grandchildren. 

What can we learn from Lois and Eunice to leave this kind of legacy of love? 

1. Be intentional in knowing and teaching the Scriptures. When Paul writes to Timothy he gives us a glimpse into Timothy’s early life and how Lois and Eunice taught him the Scriptures. 
"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." – 2 Timothy 3:14-15

2. Be intentional in living out your faith in your actions. 
Paul refers to Timothy’s faith as genuine and sincere. His faith was real and practical in his life, just as it had been in his mother’s and grandmother’s. Timothy not only heard the Word from them but he saw it lived out. They loved this young boy passionately and modeled for him what living for Jesus really looked like in their pagan world. 

Lois and Eunice could have never known the power of their legacy of love for Christ passed on to Timothy. They didn’t know that through Paul “adopting” Timothy as his “true son” and raising him in the faith, we would now be trained and taught by Paul’s letters to Timothy as he pastored in Ephesus. 

We will never know the impact of the legacy we will leave behind. What is true for sure is that we all leave a legacy. The question is: what will it be? 

Written by Jane Ann Crowson, associate director of compliance for Buckner Retirement Services.

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