When I call to remembrance 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. (2 Timothy 1:5)
Family heritage is very important. The lineage of one generation to another can be a powerful influence in the world for change. There are families that established an economic heritage that changed nations. Some families have a heritage that is centuries old that continues to influence world affairs. Political legacies are found throughout American history. While economic, political, and societal influences are rooted in the fabric of society, none surpass the influence of godliness from one generation to another. All generations will fade away and riches lost, names forgotten, and influences cast aside in the passing winds of time, but the families that give each other the gift of God find a lasting reward that is incomparable.
Lois was a woman growing up in a Roman world. She had a daughter called Eunice and they lived in the city of Lystra. Paul had visited the Asia-Minor city on his first missionary journey. It was a place given over to idolatry and pagan customs. After Paul healed a cripple, the people called him Hermes and Barnabas, Zeus, after the gods of men. They could scarcely constrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them. Later, Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and, stirring up the crowds, had Paul stoned and left for dead. He survived the stoning and the next day departed for Derbe. On his second preaching trip, Paul found Timothy, the son of Eunice, at Lystra and wanted the young man to go with him on his journey. After circumcising Timothy, Paul and his companions continued their work of preaching in all the cities.
Luke writes that Timothy’s father was a Greek married to Eunice. Lois and Eunice were devoted to the word of God in a world filled with all things ungodly. Lystra was not just a city with idols but also a society given over to the influences of idol worship. Paganism and immorality were the same things. As a grandmother and a mother, two women worked diligently to embed in the heart of an impressionable young man the faith of Jehovah God. Sometime before Paul’s second arrival in Lystra, Timothy was baptized for the remission of his sins. He thrived in the work of the Lord as the brethren spoke highly of him to Paul. The apostle was so taken by Timothy that he begged him to join in the work of preaching throughout the Roman world.
Faith must begin at home. Timothy grew up in an idolatrous city, but his home was a bastion of godliness, purity, fidelity, truth, the word of God, and the influence of two women who made certain he stayed faithful to God. Lois and Eunice were matriarchs who taught Timothy to love God by word and by example. It was important for the influence of their faith to find itself in the heart of Timothy. When Paul told Timothy he needed to be circumcised, the young man did not disobey. His faith was not weak but devoted to the work of the Lord. It was hard for Lois and Eunice to hear Paul ask to take Timothy with him on his journeys, but the women gave their grandson and son to the work of the Lord. It was a sacrifice they were willing to give.
A godly woman’s work is never done. Lois learned the truth of Jesus Christ and she taught her daughter to love Jesus Christ. Eunice spent many hours teaching little Timothy to love the Lord with all his heart. When Timothy grew to manhood, he kept those teachings in his heart. How often he must have reflected on the voice of Lois and Eunice as he traveled with Paul throughout the Roman Empire. The matriarchal heritage of Lois and Eunice shows the work of a grandmother is never done and the teaching of a mother does not end. Timothy was blessed with two godly women who taught him to love God in a world filled with ungodliness. May God raise up more women like Lois and Eunice, who are women of God passing on their love to the next generation.