June 24, 2009

Equipping All Women to Be Exceptional Women

The scriptures tell many stories of unlikely women God has used to accomplish his will. I refer to them as “unlikely” not because it is unlikely God would ever use such women to accomplish his will. God will use anyone at any time. I refer to these women as unlikely because of our sinful expectations. To put it bluntly, they are not church ladies.

Two of these unlikely women are almost entirely unknown to us, except for what Paul has to say about their influence on a younger man very dear to him. We are introduced to them in Paul’s second letter written to Timothy who was a leader in the first century church and discipled by Paul. A younger man, Paul regarded him as his own spiritual "child". Timothy's grandmother Lois, and Eunice, his mother, are credited by Paul for instilling in Timothy a "sincere faith" like that of their own. (2 Timothy) In Acts 16:1, the only other biblical text where Timothy’s family background and heritage of faith are discussed, we learn that Timothy’s father is Greek and his mother, who we know to be Eunice, is a Jewish convert to Christianity. Neither Luke, the writer of Acts, nor Paul in his letter to Timothy offers any indication that Timothy’s father was also a believer, leaving the reader to assume he probably was not.

Perhaps it would not have been so important for scripture to mention anything about Timothy’s upbringing and the religious background of his parents if it were not for the significant role his mother played in the development of his faith and as the believer in an unequally yoked marriage. That Timothy’s grandmother Lois and mother Eunice are acknowledged for their key role in his spiritual development should give us pause as to how we are equipping all women to grow in their knowledge of God and how their children’s spiritual heritage might be traced back to the strength of their own faith. Sunday comes too infrequently to depend upon the church as the only source for Christian education; every parent needs to be a fount of biblical truth to their children and every woman has opportunities to share the gospel and make disciples. What are we doing as a church, especially in our women’s ministries, to encourage the spiritual maturity of every woman?

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