Mentors of a Spiritual Heritage

What do you value? What means the most to you? It may be something that has sentimental or familial value. This object may not be worth much financially, but its value to you is personal. Perhaps it is something that came form your parents or grandparents. It might be something from a child. Its value is its heritage.

In Exodus 10:2, God tells his people to make a heritage of what He has done for them. Exodus 13:8 repeats these instructions. He tell His people to pass the events of the Exodus from generation to generation. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 tells the Israelites to teach the traditions to God to their children. What His people were to value most was to be His word.

Two women concerned with the spiritual heritage of their children were Lois and Eunice – mother and grandmother to Timothy. We now little of these women. Timothy’s mother was married to an unbeliever, but we know that Timothy’s mother taught him God’s word, and his grandmother worked with him as well. Many churches were affected by Timothy because of the work done by his mother and grandmother. They brought up a child. who would be valued by Paul according to verses like Philippians 2:19.

Timothy’s Spiritual Role Models

The qualities we see in Timothy are not accidental. His life was deeply impacted by the women who purposed to set him in the Lord’s footsteps.

  • They were examples of godliness. II Timothy 1:5 records the example Lois and Eunice set for Timothy. They practiced what they taught. Growing up, Timothy would have seen the type of adult he should become in the example of his mother and grandmother.
  • They taught in the face of difficulties. Their teaching influenced Timothy according to II Timothy 3:15. They showed Timothy how to live, and they reinforced those principles in their teaching. He was taught from God’s word despite the faith (or lack therefor) of his father who would have looked down upon many Jewish traditions as barbaric. They also taught Timothy despite their inability to take him to synagogue because he was uncircumcised.
  • They obeyed the gospel. Lois and Eunice originally taught Timothy from the sacred Jewish texts, but they respond to Paul’s message of Acts 16. They changed when change was called for based on inspired teachings. In this, they set an example to Timothy for him to follow in Christ’s teachings.

Creating Our Own Spiritual Heritage

How do we create a spiritual heritage like the one passed on by Lois and Eunice? There are some families that can trace their faith back for generations, but, even if we do not have such a history, we can start it now. We can pass our faith on to our children and grandchildren. Our spiritual influence is not limited to our children, but, like Lois, we can positively affect our grandchildren’s relationships with God. In fact, some lessons are better received from our grandparents than our parents.

We need to determine the heritage we want to pass on. Even if we have no children or grandchildren, we can become spiritual mentors as Paul was to Timothy. Paul had no children or grandchildren recoded in scripture, but he was a father-figure to Timothy, providing guidance that Timothy’s own father did not. Show someone you care about them, reach out and make another feel their importance. We can help someone grow up to be like Timothy – a Christian valued by others and carrying on a spiritual heritage as valuable as any other heirloom close to his or her heart.

lesson by Tim Smelser