In Praise of Mothers

Bible Book: 2 Timothy  1 : 5
Subject: Mothers; Christian Parenting; Children; Mother's Day

2 Timothy 1:5

A young fellow who was strong in his faith, clean in his life, and happy in his Lord gave a thrilling testimony. Impressed by his ways, a stranger said, "I've known your grandfather, and your father, and now I've met you. You all love the Lord. Why?" "I guess," replied the boy, "it runs in our family." And that is what Timothy, St. Paul's trusted and triumphant companion, could have said. For Paul wrote to him, "How I long to see you again. How happy I would be, for I remember your tears as we left each other. I know how much you trust the Lord, just as your mother Eunice and your grandmother Lois do; and I feel sure you are still trusting Him as much as ever."

I. Look At His Parentage

Timothy, whose name means "honored of God," or "worshipping God," was the child of godly heritage. His mother was a Christian Jewess, and the daughter of another devout Christian Jewess. He was a youthful reader of the Bible. When he was a small child he was taught the word of God.

How fortunate are the children who are cradled in the things of God.

Children are much like a china dish. Once the china has been inscribed and put into a furnace and baked, you cannot rub off the inscription. Your children are in that time in their lives in which you can inscribe on them the good things of life.

A woman asked Dr. Francis Wayland Parker, "How early can I begin the education of my child?" "When will your child be born?" asked the educator. "He is already five years old," she answered. "Don't stand here talking to me," said Dr. Parker, "hurry home. You have already lost the best five years."

Not only do you teach your children things with your lips, but also with your lives. If you give him everything he wants, he will grow up thinking the world owes him a living. If you pick up everything he leaves lying around, he will grow up thinking he is not responsible for anything. If you allow him to look at anything on the screen or in magazines, he will grow up with a garbage can for his mind and his mouth. If you allow him to satisfy his cravings for a taste of alcohol or a touch of drugs, he will grow up with a bent toward addiction and alcoholism. If you allow him to grow up thinking it's cute to use bad words or tell dirty jokes, he will grow up to cut you and others later with his vice.

If he lives with antagonism, he will grow up with anger. If he lives with criticism, he will grow up with castigation. If he lives with dishonesty, he will learn deceit. If he lives with hostility, he will learn hatred. If he lives with snobbishness, he will learn scornfulness. If he lives with trickery, he will learn treachery.

Some parents one day confessed, "We lost our first two children." Shocked, their friends cried, "We didn't know they were dead." "Oh, they're not dead," was the quick response, "we set the wrong example."

II. Look At The Person

Eunice didn't lose her son. I like her name-Eunice. It has the word "nice" in it. She must have been nice in her attitude and actions, nice in her belief and behavior, nice in her character and conduct, nice in her mouth and manners.

Her name Eunice means "conquering well." She didn't have any hang ups. There is no mention of  her husband. She didn't party, she kept to herself pure. She wasn't worldly, she gave herself to the word. She wasn't self-seeking, she lived for her son. Many in her condition would have built barriers, instead she removed road blocks. Many in her case would have criticized her circumstances, instead she changed her conditions. Many in her circumstances would have found fault, instead she fashioned a fine follower of our Lord.

Eunice conquered well. She didn't have any gang ups. She had fears, but she turned them into faith. She had barriers, but she turned them into bridges. She had scars, but she turned them into stars. She had trials, but she turned them into triumphs. Eunice, a widow with a mother and a son to care for, refused to be defeated by disappointments, or dismayed by discouragement, or destroyed by disasters. She rose above adversity and attained new heights of achievement.

Eunice conquered well. She didn't have any let ups. She didn't fellowship with the saints one day and fraternize with the sinners the next. She didn't read the Bible one day and reject I the next. She didn't go to praying one day and give up praying the next. She didn't grip the hand of the Lord one day and give it up the next. She didn't grow in grace one day and go into disgrace the next. Because her days were undergirded by devotions they weren't undermined by doubts the next day. Because her moments were filled with faith they weren't fraught with fear the next.

One Sunday the children were given a card in Sunday School that read, "Have Faith In God." After church, a boy boarded a bus to go home. He stuck his hand out of the open window and a gust of wind blew the card away. He shouted, "Stop the bus! I lost my faith in God." Eunice didn't let any gust of grief or wind of woe take her faith. She conquered well.

III. Look At The Piety

The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5, "I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in their grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded in thee also."

Lois was a grandmother indeed. Her faith was vital. And a faith that is vital turns to Someone from something. These are simultaneous experiences separable only in thought. You see this in Acts 20:21 where it is written, "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." These are the negative and positive aspects of one act. In repentance you turn from sin. In faith you turn to the Savior. You cannot have one without the other. Just as you cannot have the sun without light, or ice without cold, or fire without heat, or water without moisture, so you cannot have faith without repentance.

Faith is not mere belief in a thing. It is the bond of union between the Savior and the sinner. Lawrence of Arabia took part in the Paris peace talks after the first World War. Some Arab leaders came with him and stayed in the same hotel. They were thrilled they could bring water into their bathroom by turning a handle on the faucet. When they left, they secretly removed the faucets and took them home. But when they turned them on no water came forth. So they told Lawrence. He explained to them that they had to be connected to the source. It is good to have faith. But for your faith to be vital it must be connected to the source, the Lord Jesus Christ. Is your faith vital?

Her faith was visible. There was the behavior with the belief. It didn't say one thing with the lips and show another thing with the life. A young man who had been a deceitful, dirty deadbeat heard our broadcast one day while sitting on a stool in a bar. The Lord convicted him of his sins and he left his drink, ran to his car, and floorboarded it to our studio. Rushing in he cried, "I want to be saved." Reading the word of the lord to him, he saw his need of the Savior. Dropping to our knees he prayed, "Lord Jesus, I have sinned terribly. I'm so ashamed. I'm so sorry. Lord Jesus, I come to Thee. I accept Thee. I turn my life over to Thee. I trust Thee now." What a change. He became a clean-living, debt-paying, neighbor-loving, law-abiding, Christ-glorifying person. Are you?

Her faith was vocal. There was a contagiousness to that grandmother's conversion. She wanted others to be saved. Where did she begin? At home, of course. There was her daughter, Eunice. She wanted her to become a Christian, and become one she did. This is what our Lord desires. Does He see this in your life?

One day as our Lord was climbing out of a boat, a man from the city of Gadara came to meet Him. Dr. Luke said he had been demon-possessed for a long time. Homeless and naked, he lived in a cemetery among the tombs. He had such strength that whenever he was put into handcuffs and shackles, as he often was, he would snap them and walk away. All day and all night he would wander among the tombs, screaming and cutting himself with sharp pieces of stone. The Lord Jesus spoke to the demon within the man and said, "Come, you evil spirit." The demons came out. No longer was he crazy but calm. No more was he cutting himself but clothed and in control of himself. When the Lord got back into the boat, the man begged, "Let me go with You." But the Lord Jesus said, "No. Go home to your friends, and tell them what wonderful things God has done for you." The man obeyed. He went home and told everyone. Have you done this?

Andrew did. Just as soon as the Lord Jesus saved him, he went to his brother, Peter, and confessed, "We have found the Messiah." And he brought Peter to Jesus. Have you brought any of your family and friends to Jesus?

IV. Look At Her Practice

By lip and by life, Eunice taught her son the Bible. To him Paul wrote, "From a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures."

Your baby is like a clean slate. You may write upon his heart whatever you desire. He is like a dry sponge ready to absorb all the moral moisture in your home. He is like a blank sheet of white paper waiting for the pen of your heart and hand. That sheet will take whatever is written upon it. Stories first heard at your knee are never wholly forgotten.

Think of Moses. He was a friend of God. Why? His mother was, and he learned it from her. He was a man of faith and fortitude. Why? Because he learned it from his mother. When she saw that God had given them an unusual child, she trusted God would save him from the death the king commanded, and she hid him for three months, and wasn't afraid. No wonder Moses wasn't afraid to share ill- treatment with the people of God instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. Like his mother,  he thought it was better to suffer for the promised Christ than to own all the treasures of Egypt.

The way to train a child is to train yourself. What you are your child will be. If your heart and hands are morally dirty, his heart and hands will be. Your child will never obey any one of God's commandments that you break in your own life. The spirit of disobedience in your heart to God, of failure to obey, of taking your way and not God's way, will be breathed in your child as surely as he   breathes the air into his lungs.

You see this truth in the following letter which appeared in a Warsaw, Indiana newspaper: "Three months ago, I sat in a courtroom and heart a judge say, 'Twenty year!' He was pronouncing punishment on my twenty-one year old son, a penalty for drinking, gambling, and robbery which ended in the almost-fatal shooting of a man. The sentence might have been less but my son had a sneering, defiant attitude all through the trial. The crowning, shocking climax came when the judge sternly asked, 'Young man, do you believe in God?' My son laughed loud and long as he answered, 'God? Who's that?' Every eye in the courtroom turned to me."

"I went to Sunday School when I was small and learned about God. After I married I decided to go again and take my children. I went regularly for a year. Then I skipped a Sunday. Soon I skipped two or three. Then we went only on special days. If only I had those years to live over! Night after night, I've paced the floor with those words 'God? Who's that?' echoing in my ears. I am sick with shame. So many say they do not believe in making a child go to church if he doesn't want to, but how many children would go to school if they weren't made to? Ask any child that question."

A spirit of confidence in God, of consecration to God, in the practical things of life, will breathe itself into your child. A right spirit, a pure heart, a keen mind, a clean tongue, a disciplined life, a cheery hopefulness, a gracious helpfulness, an earnest purpose, in mother and father will be taken into your child's being with every breath he takes.

When my mother fell in love with the Lord she fell in love with His word. My father wasn't a Christian, and he didn't want us to own or read the Bible. But when my sisters, my brother and I became a Christian, mother determined that at any cost we would read the Bible. A saintly school teacher gave me our first Bible. I hid it. Every night, after my father would fall asleep, we would gather in a bedroom, turn on a dim light, take the Bible out of hiding, gather around mother, and she would read God's word to us. It is no wonder that I love the word and preach the word.

V. Look At Her Passion

To Timothy the apostle Paul wrote, "From a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

Some mothers want their children to have grace in their heels, but Eunice wanted her son to have grace in his heart. Some mothers want their children to have their names on the society page, but Eunice wanted her son to have his name written in the Book of Life. Some mothers want their children to become acquainted with the stars of the screen, but Eunice wanted her son to become acquainted with the saints of the Scriptures. Some mothers want their children to know how to handle the bottle, but Eunice wanted her son to know how to handle the Bible.

A young lady had been in an accident with her friend and was terribly hurt. Her condition was critical and the police called her parents. She was their only child, the idol of their hearts, and now she was dying - without God. "Mother," she whispered weepingly, "you taught me how to dress, how to dance, how to drink, but you didn't teach me how to die. Now I am dying without God, and I'm frightened."

Buy your children comfortable shoes, but see that they walk in the way of the lord. Buy them beautiful clothes, but see that they are dressed in the robe of righteousness. Give them a good education, but see that they know Jesus as Savior and Lord. Teach them how to live successfully, but make sure that they know how to die triumphantly.

You brought them into this world, and it's your responsibility to bring them into heaven. More than you owe them food for their bodies, you owe them food for their souls. More than you owe them an allowance, you owe them the Almighty.

Because our salvation was at stake, mother spared no pains to talk with us, quote the Bible to us, pray with us, and live Christ before us. She had no time to indulge herself in many things which would have been enjoyable to her. She was too busy cultivating our hearts, quickening our minds, and wooing our souls to the Lord. Everything she did was to win us to the Lord Jesus Christ.

When she washed our clothes, she would kneel beside the washer and pray out loud, "Lord Jesus, just as the water and soap are cleansing the clothes of my family, so cleanse their hearts with Thy blood." As she would darn our socks, she would pray, "Father, lead the feet that shall wear these socks to Calvary." As she would bake bread she would water the dough with tears as she prayed, "Father, my family loves homemade bread. Be pleased to give them a greater hunger for the Bread of Life." Early in the morning when I would come home from playing for a dance, a night club, or a show, I would find mother on her knees crying, "O God, You may damn my soul, only save my son's soul." No wonder the Lord saved me. And He will save your children and your companion when you give yourself passionately and perseveringly and patiently to woo and win them to the Lord Jesus.

Many sons and daughters have been saved because of the prayers of their mothers. Monica was twenty-three years old when she gave birth to a boy whom she named Augustine. For her son she prayed without ceasing. But her husband, an unfaithful and unbelieving husband, led her son into sin. When Augustine was sixteen years old the father boasted of sinful escapades he and his son were enjoying. But the prayers of that mother won out over the paganism of that father, and God saved her son. He became one of the six greatest leaders of the Christian church. He testified, "My father didn't prevail over my mother's prayers," for just before he died the father became a Christian.


One day a mother prayed for her son, declaring to God, "I will not be the mother of a wicked child." And she was not. The Salvation Army stands as a monument to her faith and to that of her husband.

A mother, with tears flowing down her face, her worn hands busy over a washboard in a room of poverty, prayed for her son, John, who ran away from home to become a sailor. That mother believed in two things, the power of prayer and the salvation of her son. Drunken and debauched, that pagan sailor, because of his mother's prayers, became a preacher-sailor. And he wrote the son Amazing Grace.

One day a skeptic son decided that he would have no more of his mother's piety and prayers. Angry and arrogant he ran from home as his mother said to him, "Son, when you come to your greatest hour of need remember your mother's God!" He was brilliant, bold, but bad. One night his hour of tragedy slipped upon him. Hopeless and helpless, he cried, "I'm going to kill myself." He reached for his pistol. Just as he was about to pull the trigger he remembered the words of his mother, "Son, in your darkest hour, remember your mother's God." He did. In repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ he called upon his mother's God and was wonderfully saved. At once he started for home. When he arrived at the door his mother hugged him and kissed him, saying, "You think you've surprised me. No, son. I know what has happened. I've been praying for you." That son, R.A. Torrey, became one of the world's greatest evangelists. Later on he was chosen by D.L. Moody to become the president of the Moody Bible Institute.

Thousands more are trophies of a mother's prayer, of mothers like Eunice, mothers who are nice, who conquer well, mothers who love and live the Bible, mothers of piety, purity and prayer. Won't you become such a mother right now?