TIMOTHY RELATIONSHIPS PART I
“…clearly recalling your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother…”
On July 23, 2022, we laid my Nana to rest. That afternoon their pool was full of great-grandchildren splashing around. One thing that they don’t prepare you for in training for ministry is that its very hard to turn off ministry mode in the midst of mourning, and so the morning of the funeral, I wasn’t able to share the thoughts I had, because they weren’t what people want to hear from the youngest grandson at a funeral, and my cousins shared everything else that we all will remember. The food, the pool, that annoying shop buzzer, the greatest encompassing of Proverbs 31 you will ever find, but the thing that I was overwhelmed with her and Papa’s legacies is in the 30+ of us that were gathered together.
In 1954, Nan & Pop were married, neither of them finishing High School, neither of them believers, until three kids later. Fast forward 68 years, 3 married children, 6 married grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren. Of all that are at an age of understanding, all are believers, and all of the children & grandchildren either have themselves or their spouses been involved in missions work or church leadership. My grandparents' legacy is not just found in the large number of children swimming on July 23rd, but in the numerous spiritual descendants, they leave behind, in a world where generational faith is no longer a common thing.
Spiritual descendants are not a concept we think about often, at least not in these terms. We talk a lot within Misfits and CSRM and the Overwhelming Victory Network about Timothy Relationships. Timothy Relationships, normally, are talked about as the relationships in our lives that mirror Paul and Timothy. A spiritual elder that is investing their time and prayers into a younger believer, to instill the faith they have to the next generation of believers and ideally with the goal that their Timothy finds a Timothy of their own. This is about Spiritual descendants and normally talking about those outside of the family circles. When we talk family circles we look at verses like Proverbs 22:6 or Ephesians 6. Fathers and Mothers teaching their children, and helping them develop into productive members of society. Both of these models are great. Both are Biblically mandated for believers. But what my grandparents have shown over the past 60 years is a merging of the two, and my grandmother highlights another Timothy relationship we sometimes overlook.
As Paul opens his second letter to Timothy, he says “clearly recalling your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois, then in your mother Eunice, and that I am convinced is in you also.” Paul had been a major influence on Timothy, but that influence would have been worthless without another relationship, the discipleship relationship of his Grandmother. His Grandmother that so clearly showed her faith and shared the Gospel story to her children and grandchildren, that the Great Discipler Paul took notice.
My grandmother, much like Timothy’s showed her faith to everyone and instilled that faith into her daughters and sons and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In a world that is full of stories of generational gaps in families of faith, my grandmother saw three generations not only casually attending church still to please her, but taking active roles in the Kingdom as missionaries, pastors, directors, musicians, and teachers. This is the legacy of my Proverbs 31 grandmother. She was a successful and respected business owner, feeding (overfeeding) and clothing not only her own children but others as well, and she even showed unbelievable physical strength in delivering of salt and chemicals to her customer's vehicles. But the greatest legacy of my Nana is found in Proverbs 31:26 & 31.
“She opens her mouth with wisdom and loving instruction is on her tongue… Give her the reward of her labor, and let her works praise her at the city gates.”
The reward of her labor was found in that pool July 23, 2022. Three generations of sincere faithfulness to her Savior, that will live on for generations to come.
****THIS BLOG IS A COMPANION TO PODCAST EPISODE #65. Listen here.