An army officer who had 9 children all under the age of 15 had been stationed in Germany. His wife and all nine of his children traveled from the U.S. to Germany to live on base. The mother and her 9 children traveled by commercial airlines to Germany. After three airports and 24 hours of layovers and flight time, they all stood all in line before the customs official in Germany. The German customs officer asked, “Are all these children and these twenty suitcases yours?” The mother tiredly replied, “Yes.” The official then asked, “Do you have any weapons or drugs?” The mother answered, “If I did, don’t you think I would have used them already?!” The official nodded in agreement and the whole family was waved right through without a single suitcase being searched.
Today, we honor our mothers and give thanks to God for all the blessings mother’s bring to our lives. Mother’s Day is a good day to review the basics of a mother’s priorities. We find these in 2 Timothy. Paul is writing to a young pastor which he had taken under his wing to train. Let’s look-in on the review Paul conducted with his young friend, named Timothy. We will examine two passages of Scripture found in 2 Timothy. First read with me 1:1-5:
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day,
4 longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy.
5 For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.
Next, look at 3:14-17.
14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,
15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
Eunice was a single mother in a scary world. She was a Jewish believer in Jesus. She’d been married to a Greek unbeliever, who’d either left or died. Like today, raising a child in a single parent home was no picnic.
Then again, there are times of compensation. A little boy invaded the dress department of a big department store and said to the salesperson, "I want to buy my mom a dress, but I don’t know what size." "Is she tall or short, fat, or skinny?" asked the clerk. "Well, she’s just perfect," answered the boy. She wrapped-up a "size 8" for him. Two day’s later Mom came and exchanged the dress for a "size 16."
Eunice’s boy Timothy was that kind of compensation. And there were good reasons. Eunice was a wise and spiritually-strong mother. She had three priorities she taught young Timothy. Her priorities were learned at her mother Lois’ knee, and passed along to Tim. The world pushes temporary and transitory values - money, position, power and fame. You can sense that with a quick look at the TV lineup for most evenings - American Idol, Millionaire Matchmaker, and many more. Let’s examine these three priorities of godly mothers:
Priority #1: Savior
…and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:15 (NASB95)
INTRODUCE YOUR CHILDREN TO THE SAVIOR AND EXPECT THEM TO FOLLOW THE SAVIOR.
Eunice led her boy Timothy to know the Lord Jesus Christ. She taught him about Jesus, and expected that he would accept Christ as Savior.
The word "leads" in this verse speaks of anticipation. When a mother anticipates, prays and leads toward Christ, she has every right to expect the cooperation of God in bringing her child to the Lord. This sounds simple; but it is not easy...or cheap.
Susannah Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, is said to have prayed one hour every day for her children. She was strict. But she was unselfishly faithful. She had six rules for teaching her children the priority of the Savior:
1. Subdue self-will in a child.
2. Teach him to pray as soon as he can speak.
3. Give him nothing he cries for, and only what is good for him when he asks politely.
4. Punish no fault confessed, but let no sinful act to go unnoticed.
5. Reward good behavior.
6. Strictly observe all promises you have made to your child.
What is so familiar about these rules is it is exactly the way the Lord treats us. Knowing the love of the mother up-close and personal, the children will learn to love the love of the Father in heaven.
An exasperated mother sent her naughty son to his room to discipline him. He stormed up to his room and defiantly hid under the bed. When the boy’s father got home, he went up to check on his wayward son. The father entered the room but did not see the little guy. He wandered around the room for a moment and then looked under the bed. When he looked under the bed, he saw two eyes looking back at him. Then he heard his son’s voice: “Hi, Daddy. Is Mommy trying to get you, too?”
Mom’s tend to be the enforcers of the rules in most homes. Mothers, if you want to know what rules to set for your home, the Scriptures are God’s guidelines for the home.
Priority #2: Scripture
15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings….
16 All Scripture is inspired by God…
2 Timothy 3:15a, 16a (NASB95)
TEACH THEM YOUNG.
Eunice taught her son the scriptures starting at a very young age. Jewish boys start formal instruction in the Scriptures at age 5; younger than that is not too soon. It is said that Susannah Wesley had 19 children. (Whew!) What is more, this mother of Charles and John Wesley took each child aside for an hour every week to discuss and teach them the principles of spiritual living. Those two sons touched two continents for Christ.
The best formula I know for teaching children is to
a. Bring them to church on Sunday;
b. Apply what is learned on Sunday all throughout the rest of the week.
Mothers, nobody will MAKE you do this. In fact, it is just the opposite today. With God removed from public places and the schools faithfully teaching secular humanism, your child has little chance of growing up to be a Timothy, or with any kind of Christian values, unless YOU teach him!
With all the demands of today’s world, is this just another pressure, a burden, a further complication? When do single mothers and working mothers have time for "Susannah Wesley mothering?" Relax, dear mother. If you will have a priority in your own life for God’s Word, and simply live it before your children, and be ready to answer their questions, you will be teaching them.
On the other hand, if you won’t live it, don’t bother to teach it in any other way. They will learn what you live. A child that sees her mother carry a Bible to church, but never opens it from Monday to Saturday knows that Christianity is only for Sunday.
Dad was watching television after supper. Mom was doing the dishes while another load of laundry was in the washing machine. The children were in the den looking at pictures from the family album. The older brother pointed to the wedding picture and said to his younger sister, “This was the party they had when Dad hired Mom.”
Ladies, I know you get tired doing all the things you do for your family. Wouldn’t it be nice to take a break from it all. But, you know it will all be waiting for you when the break is over. Husbands and children, one the best things you can do for the lady in your home is help lighten the load of household chores.
Moms, you know it is important to teach your children (and husbands) how to help around the house. But, it is also important for you to teach your children how to serve the Lord through the church.
Priority #3: Service
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 …so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB95)
All of Timothy’s instruction prepared him for service to the Lord.
As we learn in Acts 16:1-5:
1 Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. And a disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek,
2 and he was well spoken of by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium.
3 Paul wanted this man to go with him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
4 Now while they were passing through the cities, they were delivering the decrees which had been decided upon by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem, for them to observe.
5 So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily.
Timothy’s good reputation had its start in his mother’s good reputation. Often the best legacy we can leave our children is not a pile of pennies or possessions, but the simple fact of a good name. Eunice’s reputation replicated itself in her son, and Paul had no trouble taking a chance on this young man. Eunice served, Timothy followed.
Many good men and faithful servants of God have the same testimony. The great Baptist preacher, G. Campbell Morgan had four sons. They all became preachers. At a family reunion a friend asked one of the sons, "Which Morgan is the greatest preacher?" With his eyes beaming with delight, the son looked over to his father and said, "Why, it’s Mother!"
Mother, is your child ready to serve God?
*Are you leading that child to the Savior?
*Are you preparing that son or daughter with Scripture, learned by you both at church and practiced at home?
*Are you leading that child to His Service? Or is he unmotivated, unequipped and undirected; is he unprepared to meet the spirit of this age?
What will your child say when the world, peer pressure, and the culture challenges his faith and drives home its message against Jesus with materialism, relativism and rationalization?
If the truth be known, when a child is born there are at least two emotions - great joy (A CHILD IS BORN!)....and Oh MY! (NOW WHAT DO I DO?) As wonderful as being a mother is....it is just that scary to raise a child today. There are thousands of books from Dr. Spock to Dr. Phil. We are bombarded with suggestions and authority from our own mothers to Oprah. What’s a mother to do?
Dump the trends and fads.
Be a godly woman.
Get your priorities in order: SAVIOR...SCRIPTURE... SERVICE
Mother and Father are not honorary titles - they are working job descriptions.
Mothers (and Dads), don’t leave the mission to the preacher, Sunday School teacher or anyone else when it comes to your precious children. An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy. YOU lead them to the Savior; YOU teach them the Scripture; YOU prepare them for service. You be a mother on mission!