A Mother’s Legacy

2 Timothy 1:3-7

Welcome to those of you who are listening on the Word, our radio audience. We’re heard every morning at 8 AM on Power Point as well as 11 o’clock on Sunday morning. This past week I had the opportunity to interview one of our fine ladies at Prestonwood who is an author, Jane Jarrell. She has many wonderful books including a great book entitled, Mom Matters. When I was interviewing her I came across this.

This is in her book:

25 Things Mom’s Need Most

  1. A sanity check
  2. To know that I am normal
  3. To know that I am a good mother
  4. Acceptance
  5. Encouragement
  6. Support
  7. Time
  8. Time with my husband
  9. Time off
  10. Time alone
  11. Time with God
  12. Patience
  13. More energy
  14. A break
  15. A nap
  16. Adult conversation
  17. A best friend
  18. Someone to understand how I feel
  19. A housekeeper
  20. A secretary
  21. A nanny
  22. A dishwasher that loads itself

And a vacuum that cleans by remote control

  1. A vacation
  2. Friends
  3. [I think the most important]

To know that being a mother is important

A Mother’s Legacy! We want to talk about the significance and the importance of being a mom not only to your generation, this generation but also for the generations to come. Take your Bible and turn with me to 2 Timothy 1. We’ve been in a series on Sunday mornings from the book of Genesis. It’s the Legacy of Faith this book of Genesis as we’ve seen the Genesis of faith, the beginning of faith as it is passed on. When God created the first man Adam and placed him in the garden he then created, out of his side, near to his heart, a woman. She burst forth and God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit gave Adam the responsibility of naming this beautiful creature that was standing by his side. So when Adam named this woman he named her Eve or Eva, which means mother. Interesting isn’t it? He did not name her wife but he named her mother, mother of all of the living.

Martin Luther the great reformer said that title “Mother” that appellative, “Is the greatest ornament of a woman.”

It’s been called the sweetest name this side of heaven, “Mother.”

Solomon the wise man that gave us the Proverbs said:

Proverbs 31:25   (NIV)

She is clothed with strength and dignity;…

He declares:

Proverbs 31:28   (NIV)

Her children arise and call her blessed;…

Since 911 we’ve been talking about who were the real hero’s. We’ve discovered once again that the real hero’s in life are not simply celebrities, superstars, media-stars or athletes. But the real hero’s are people like firefighters and rescue workers and police officers. I want to add another to the real hero’s and that is “Moms” “Mothers” who are real heroes. My Mom is a hero to me. Being a Mom brings out the very best in a woman. It requires the greatest of responsibilities and the highest of priorities. If I were voting for Mother Of The Year I could nominate many, many of you, all of you let’s say it that way. But one of the most dedicated mother’s in our generation is a woman Karen Hughes, who many would have considered among the most powerful women in Washington, Council to the President. Yet, several weeks ago she stood to announce, “I’m leaving Washington! I’m leaving the White House and the reason is my family. The reason is my 15 year old son and my husband and making my family and my child the priority of my life.” Here is a woman who was willing to lay down power for the greatest power on earth and that is the power of love and the power of a family.

What is the value and the worth of a Mother? There was a study done recently that tried to describe the value of a mother in monetary ways, to determine a salary. If you added up all the things that a mother does this particular study determined that her value in salary would be 507,000 dollars per year, a half a million a year! Some of the jobs that were added in were:

  • Chef
  • Childcare Worker
  • Registered Nurse
  • Financial Planner
  • Dietician
  • Property Manager
  • Social Worker
  • Housekeeper
  • Psychologist
  • Much more!!!

How would you measure the priceless quality of a woman who is a godly mother? I would add to this list of all the tasks of a mother:

  • Kissing a booboo
  • Rubbing Vapor Rub on your chest when you got a cough
  • Making that special meal for your Birthday
  • Warm cookies and milk after school
  • Hugs, that special touch, kisses on the cheek
  • Cheering on the sidelines for you whether you did well of did poorly

No, it is impossible to total up the value. Money can’t buy a mom! There is no price tag that could equate to what a Christian mother can do. I want to talk to you about that Christian mom and the legacy that she lives. Not simple the legacy that she leads but the legacy that she lives by personalizing her faith and then passing it on to her family. The most important and significant thing that we as parents can do, both moms and dads is to share our faith with our children and the generations to come. Because every child is a gift from God, a creation of God and then God places these children in our hearts and in our homes that we might nurture them because children become who they are and what they are not simply by nature but nurture as well. The nurture of that Mom and certainly with the Dad alongside is vital to that child’s well being. God gave us our children, they are unique, they are precious and God has a plan for their lives and we get to be a part of that plan. Mom your assignment is a tough assignment but you get to do it! You get to make an eternal difference in the lives of your children. Every birth, every little boy and girl is testimony to the fact that God wants the world to go on. More than that He wants the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ to go on and to live in your children. So Mom’s do matter! More than you can imagine because every child is moldable, every child is pliable; every child is flexible in the tender hands of a Mom! So in 2 Timothy 1 we see, A Mother’s Legacy. Beginning in 2 Timothy 1:3 Paul is writing to Timothy his beloved son as he calls him in verse two, a beloved son in the ministry, a spiritual son. But before Paul put his impact and imprint upon Timothy someone else, in fact two someone else’s did that. For Paul said:

2 Timothy 1:3-7   (NKJ)

I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance [Watch this!] the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

A mother and a grandmother, Lois and Eunice! Two women who lived a legacy and left a legacy in the life of their preacher son Timothy. What is the mother’s legacy? It is the mother’s legacy to give her faith to the seceding generations. What is that faith? I want to mention several aspects of this faith, this living legacy of faith that we pass on.

First of all it is a faith that is Personal!

Living as an Example of God’s Amazing grace of Christ in Your life

Notice what Paul said concerning Timothy’s faith! He said this is genuine faith, this genuine faith, this sincere faith that lives in you lived first in your grandmother and in your mother. The word genuine here means sincere faith or faith without hypocrisy, a real faith that begins with a relationship and continues with a relationship with Christ. Not religion but rather a relationship with Jesus Christ. Timothy’s dad apparently was not a Christian and yet this mom and this grand mom stepped in the gap in his life. His mother Eunice was a godly Jewish woman who according to Acts 16:1 became a believer in mashiach the Messiah.

Acts 16:1   (NKJ)

…Timothy the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek.

She received Christ into her life and the development of this man Timothy was a result of the godly faith, the genuine faith that was in this woman and the grandmother Lois. They taught him the Word of God growing up and as a result of that early teaching of the Scriptures he became wise unto salvation. Paul describes this in Timothy’s life in 2 Timothy 3:15, how he became wise in the Scriptures or wise unto salvation in the Holy Scriptures.

2 Timothy 3:15   (NKJ)

and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

In other words Timothy personally embraced the faith of his mother and of his grandmother. Why? They were consistent examples. They were faithful encouragers. I tell you that the greatest advantage you can give your child, all of us want our children to have the best of opportunities, the best advantage to be successful in life and if you want to give your children the very best advantage possible you give them faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, you share your faith with them and that will enable them to begin living life as God intended, wise unto salvation. The faith of these women blossomed in Timothy and for at least 3 generations and most likely many more this genuine faith continued because it was convincing and therefore it was contagious. Can I tell you that we cannot expect our faith to live beyond us until it first lives within us? Now you may want to write that down! We cannot expect our faith to live beyond us unless our faith first lives within us. In other words is your faith real? Is it a genuine faith? Is it a faith that is transferable? Godly moms and dads teach their children to live the Christian life on a daily basis. We cannot expect our children to accept and adopt our faith until they see that we live by what we believe. In fact the old Anglo-Saxon word for believe or by live that is what we believe we live by. I believe that the living out of this faith is so genuine and it is so transparent when it is real and it is not so much structured as it is normal and natural and consistent and faithful. The Scripture talks about this in that famed passage in Deuteronomy 6 instructing parents, commanding parents as to how we are to successfully succeed in the next generation with the faith. He talks about, there in Deuteronomy 6 that we’re to talk of these things when we sit down at the table, when we rise up in the morning, when we lay down at night.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7   (NKJ)

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.” “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way,when you lie down, and when you rise up.

In other words real instruction doesn’t take place simply by saying you sit down, you sit still while I instill but rather it happens in the normal routines of life in the daily traffic patterns of our lives that it is integrated and interwoven, that it is spontaneous. I believe most children learn to live their faith not so much because of structured or formal instruction but rather by nature and normal instruction. Because little eyes are watching us and when they see the love in action is what changes hearts and reproduces faith. Moms and Dads, our children do not expect us to be perfect. Frankly I see a lot of Moms trying way too hard to be perfect. Your kids do not expect you to be perfect. What they do rightly expect is for you to be consistent. Amen? To be consistent in who we are and what we believe because our children catch out faith how? By being around us. If our faith is real, if we have the real thing it is indeed infectious and contagious. So being a Mom is a beautiful and wonderful assignment but it is so important that you be strong in your faith. Timothy lived in tough times. He lived apparently in a home where his dad was not a believer. So this was a big assignment for Mom to be strong in her own faith and never to compromise truth in the name of love but rather to speak the truth in love. I believe it is vital that we lead our children to faith in Jesus Christ at the earliest possible moment. As a child, Paul said, Timothy you knew the Holy Scriptures. As we impart and implant the Word, the seed of the Word of God in their hearts then look for those golden moments when they are responsive and open and tender because Jesus said except you be like a little child and be converted you’ll never see the kingdom of God.

Luke 18:17   (NKJ)

“Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

We want people to be like adults. We think we want people to grow up and be like adults before they become Christians. No! Adults must become like children and children who are tender and open to the Gospel. But the fact is that we lead our children to Christ not by cramming it down their throats but by praying it into their hearts and planting it into their lives with the scripture. I guarantee you if you ram or try to ram religion down your child’s throat they’ll throw it right back up because your child, my children they don’t need religion they need a genuine and godly faith that is given to them. They receive it by grace just as you received it. Now, Mom’s are very special people and there are all kinds of moms with all kinds of personalities.

I heard about a man who decided to call his Mom on Mother’s Day. She answered the phone, she lived down in Florida. He said, “Mom how are you doing, Happy Mother’s Day.” She said, “Oh I’m not doing well, son. I’m tired and I’m weak and I’m sick.” He said, “Mom what’s the matter why are you so sick.” She said, “Well, I haven’t eaten in 38 days.” “MOTHER! Why have you not eaten in 38 days?” She said, “Oh I just didn’t want my mouth to be full if you ever called.” [Laughter]

We don’t give our children the faith by guilt but by grace. A lot of mom’s can put us on a guilt trip. But Mom’s put your kids on a grace trip. As our friend here this morning, Josh McDowell says, “Religion and rules without a relationship will equal rebellion in a child’s life.” So give them genuine and godly faith.

So what is this faith, this mother’s legacy of faith? It is a faith that is Personal. Do you have a personal faith in Jesus Christ and are you giving it away to your children?

Secondly this faith is a faith that is Permanent. Now go back to our text in 2 Timothy 1:5 and as you see it there he speaks of the genuine faith that is what?

2 Timothy 1:5   (NKJ)

         when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you,…

Then he said:

which dwelt

Look at that word dwelt and underline it.

         …dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.

That little word dwelt is a word, which means to abide, a word which means to be at home. It speaks of staying power. It speaks of permanence. It speaks of something that is very strong. Paul uses this idea of Christ dwelling in us permanently throughout the Gospel that Christ in you is the hope of glory. Paul spoke in Ephesians 3 one of our favorite passages concerning Christ and he said, let Christ dwell in you, let Christ be at home in your hearts.

Ephesians 3:17   (NKJ)

That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love.

In Colossians 3:16 he said, let the word of God dwell, same word, live in you and dwell in you richly.

Colossians 3:16   (NKJ)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…

The heart is the dwelling place of the Word of God and the God of the Word. If our children are to believe then we should live for Jesus Christ down deep, down on the inside and that our faith is real and lasting and permanent.

We are living in difficult day, dangerous days. I was reading an interview of some celebrity. One of those kinds of celebrity interviews of so called celebrity moms. I think all moms are celebrity moms. But these were celebrity moms, so called, and they were asking this particular movie star, “What do you think, how are you going to raise your children in a world of 911, a world of terrorism, a world of trouble?” She responded, I think, appropriately. But you know that’s a good question for Christian moms today? How are we going to raise our children in a world, which is difficult and even dangerous where there’s crisis and pain and disappointment? How are we going to prepare our children for the future, for the battles that are ahead in their lives? I think we can accurately predict through the lens of Scripture that times will grow tougher and tougher. So how are we going to get our faith from this generation to the generations to come? How will we know that our faith will live in the lives of our children? By allowing Jesus to live in us, that it is not a sometimes thing but an every time and an all time thing, not a Sunday thing but an everyday thing. Do you know our children learn so much more about our faith not during delightful times but during demanding times? When our children watch us when we go through trials and when we go through struggles when there is pain and when there are problems our children, your children Mom they learn more from you during the difficult days about your faith then in any other time and how you handle the stresses and the struggles of life and when your children see you trusting God and living it from the inside out. Too many times we allow our faith to come and to go rather than abiding deeply in our lives. Let your faith in Jesus Christ inhabit you, let it possess you, let it consume you, allow Jesus to be the center to your life at the very core of your being, down deep in your heart. That’s the faith that will live not only in you but will live in your children. We’re living in a time where this generation is walking away from God. We have forgotten God. The church of Jesus Christ desperately needs revival and renewal and it begins in us, it begins in you Mom, Dad as your deep faith, abiding faith continues and is contagious in the lives of your children. It’s permanent. Not only is this faith a faith that is personal and a faith that is permanent.

But it is a faith that is Passionate. I couldn’t make up my mind as I was collecting this pot of peas for Mother’s Day if I was gonna say that the faith was positive faith or passionate faith. So lets just say that it is a faith that is Positively Passionate, all right? But the idea that I see here in this text is that the faith that is passed on, when we give our faith away we are passionate about that. Lois the grandmother and Eunice the mother obviously realized that their faith was too good to keep for themselves. They had a passion to impart their faith and influence young Timothy to follow Christ. So they taught him from the earliest days the Word of God. Your children, my children will either be shaped by the world or the Word will shape them. We as parents as Moms and Dads are the ones who make the difference.

John Calvin another great reformer, I mentioned Luther earlier, Calvin said, “Timothy was raised in such a way that he could suck in godliness with his mothers milk. The Bible calls itself the milk of the Word. Vital to your child’s spiritual health and well being is the milk of the Word. How does your child take in the milk? By you, Mom, faithfully living in godliness and holiness and purity before that child. We as parents must be proactive in sharing our faith. You know the best way that we can give our faith to our children? When we get excited about Jesus. When you, Mom, fall in love with Jesus Christ your heart is overflowing with such contagious and conspicuous joy and enthusiasm about who Jesus is and what Jesus can do in a life. That’s the very best witness, that we stay alert to those opportunities.

I enjoy reading biography and I’m constantly reading biographies. A great new biography on President Ronald Reagan is out called, When Character Was King, written by one of my favorite authors Peggy Noonan. In the book she writes about Reagan’s upbringing and what forged and formed the character of his life. Prominently in the story is Nell Wilson Reagan, Ronald Reagan’s Mother. President Reagan’s fathers name was Jack; his mother’s name was Nell. Peggy Noonan describes Nell saying that, “She was solid, reliable and small. She looks in pictures to have been about a size 2, about 5’2”. She was busy and bustling and she believed completely in what was known as in the title of a popular book in the era, The Christian Secret Of A Happy Life. Here was the secret that Nell Reagan shared with her son. ‘Jesus is with you, is aware of your life and fully engaged in it. God is in everything. He will let little befall you that will not be to the ultimate benefit of your soul. Sometimes He steps aside for trouble coming your way but only if it will refine you or prepare you to be with Him some day in heaven where you will know a happiness beyond all human understanding. So there’s no cause then for sadness only for joy. Do not be afraid.’” This is what Noonan writes of Mrs. Reagan, Mom Reagan, “She filled the family air with her belief, with her assuredness about the meaning of it all and young “Dutch” Reagan breathed it in and it helped shape his temperament which was trusting.” Who knew that young “Dutch” would grow up to be President Ronald Reagan? Maybe Nell knew all along that this boy was something special and she imparted into him, she breathed in the very air of the family this contagious joy and faith. That’s what I want to do.

Let the faith of Jesus Christ as was in Lois, Eunice and Timothy be in us. Timothy became a powerful leader in the church, a pastor and a wonderful man of God. Why? Because two women gave him something that money cannot buy, character that was forged in the person and the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let the atmosphere of your home be full of God’s Spirit and let your children experience a home that is super charged with God’s presence.

One final word about this faith that is a mother’s legacy; a faith that is personal, a faith that is permanent, a faith that is positively passionate and a faith that is Promising. A promising faith! Look back again in our text. In 2 Timothy 1:1 Paul speaks of the promise of life, which is in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 1:1   (NKJ)

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,

Then this promising faith is described in the 12th verse, the second portion of it when Paul confidently asserts:

2 Timothy 1:12   (KJ)

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.

Paul said, I know whom, he didn’t’ say I know in whom I believe. He said I know Him, I know Christ and because I know Him I have confidence in the promise that is the future. It is that confident faith that Timothy experienced, faith that is centered in Jesus Christ, faith that is absolute and sure, faith that is founded upon truth in a world where truth seems to be up for grabs. We as parents must give this promising faith, this fulfilling faith to our children; we must give a reason for the hope that is in us. Remember when Paul wrote these words to young Timothy encouraging him in his own faith Paul was in prison. His head was on the chopping block, he was on the scaffold and yet he lived with confident hope and expectation. It was this moment in Paul’s life that produced his confidence and his faith. In a world of sinicism and unbelief, in a world of doubt and fear let us give our children something to hang on to, something to sink their teeth into, a promising faith, a hope, a hope in heaven and a hope in the life beyond. But, if you don’t know where you’re going and if you’ve lost your own way how can you lead your children? Are you living and standing on the promises of God? Are you giving your children a hope and a future by sharing Jesus Christ and His love with them? Our children desperately need that, a faith that is personal, a faith that is permanent, a faith that is positively passionate and a faith that is promising. This promising faith is a precious faith described in the Bible as the very treasure of God. We can love and lead our children to Christ by allowing them to see the beauty of Jesus in us and the hope that is beyond us. Our prayer is that our children will become fully dedicated and devoted followers of Jesus Christ. What is the goal? That our children would become men and women of God and fulfill the promise from generation to generation, that our children would catch a vision for world evangelism.

Next week we’re going to have Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer the two Afghan Christian aid workers who were captured for their faith, imprisoned and delivered on the wings of prayer. They’re going to be sharing in these services, these young women in their 20’s of their desire to see people come to faith in Jesus Christ. Our goal as parents is to produce disciples who love Jesus and who love the world, which needs Jesus to develop world Christians who understand that the promise is real and that the promise in Christ is forever. To teach them to believe.

Wilma Rudolph was in a terrible accident and the doctors told her that she would never walk again. Just as a child she was told she would never walk again. Wilma, who later became an Olympic runner and champion reflecting back on that time in her life said, “You know what? The doctors told me I would never walk but my Mama said I would walk. I choose to believe my Mama.”

Moms, teach your children to believe and to walk in Christ. It is the greatest legacy that you can live and give to your children to have a faith genuine and godly that is given to the generations to come.