Introduction: Hello and welcome to this message from Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. As these teachings are shared worldwide our prayer is that God uses them to bring more people into his family. If this message deepens your love for Jesus, we'd love to hear about it. Email us at email@example.com. And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/giving.
In this special teaching, we celebrate moms and their influence in our lives by seeing how these important women hold a special place in the heart of God. We invite you to open your Bibles to Second Timothy, chapter 1, as Pastor Skip begins the message "How Moms Can Change the World."
Skip Heitzig: Well, moms become grandmas and they turn out to be wonderfully interesting creatures when that happens. I have a story that's simply called "When a Southern Grandma Goes to Court." This takes place in Mississippi:
In a trial in a Southern small town, prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly woman to the stand. He approached her and said, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?"
She responded, "Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a boy, and frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. [laughter] You lie. You cheat on your wife. You manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a big shot when you haven't got the brains to realize you'll never amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."
The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?"
She again replied, "Why, yes, I do. I've known Mr. Bailey since he was a youngster too. He's lazy, bigoted, and he's got a drinking problem. He can't build a normal relationship with anyone, and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. One of them was your wife. [laughter] Yes, I know him." The defense attorney nearly collapsed.
Then the judge asked both counselors to approach him at the bench and in a very quiet tone said, "If either of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I'll send you both to the electric chair." [laughter]
Moms turn into grandmas, and by the end of the road there's not much they don't know. Nobody knows you better than your mom. Nobody loves you more than your mom. I'm going to ask you to turn with me to the book of Second Timothy, chapter 1; Second Timothy, chapter 1. It's been said that "the hand that rocks cradle rules the world." And if that's so, there is no better example of that, I believe, than Second Timothy, chapter 1. I searched for titles for this message. I thought of the title, "How to Raise a Leader." I thought of "Mothers Who Change the Future." I wrote down, "A Mom on a Mission." But I landed on this for my message title: "How Moms Can Change the World." And that's because the mother mentioned in our text and the grandmother mentioned raised a young man who became a world changer.
And I don't know if you've ever thought about this, mom, but what you have done in raising children or are doing in raising children or, grandmothers, what you're investing in those grandbabies, could change the world. Timothy grew up, and Timothy, the one that this letter is addressed to, was personally handpicked by Paul the apostle to spread the gospel and to pastor a church. There's an old hymn, some of you will recall it, "Faith of Our Fathers." "Faith of our fathers, living still . . . ," and there's four verses, I believe. And each of those four verses, "Faith of our Fathers . . . , Faith of our fathers . . . , Faith of our Fathers . . . , Faith of our Fathers . . . ." Hey, wait a minute. What about faith of our mothers? We ought to write a stanza that says that or a song that says that. Goes a long way.
I've always loved that little cartoon where the father puts his foot down and says, "I'm the head of this home." To which the wife promptly and calmly replies, "You may be the head of this home, but I'm the neck that turns the head." [laughter] There's a lot more to that truth than perhaps you realize.
Second Timothy, chapter 1, beginning in verse 1:
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
To Timothy, a beloved son:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord.
I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, 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. Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Looking at this text as our basis, moms, I want to give to you three investments in your children, three ways to invest in your children to change the world. They're simple. The first one is tenderness. Tenderness, something that moms are great at. You'll notice in our text that the first thing that Paul remembers when he thinks of Timothy were his tears; not Paul's tears for Timothy, but Timothy's tears. Timothy cried. Now what's going on? Why does he mention this? Well, one thing we know about Timothy is he was probably the most loyal friend Paul had. Of all of the people on Paul's staff, there was no one like Timothy. For when Paul sends Timothy to the Philippian church, he says, "I have no one who is like-minded, who will naturally care for your state like Timothy."
"Like-minded" means equal-souled, our souls are the same, our spirits are the same, we are tracking together on just about every issue. Well, this loyal friend and follower of Paul the apostle demonstrated a tender expression of that loyalty by crying on some event. Now, we're not sure when that was, but we believe it was some departure that Paul and Timothy had. And I can make two guesses: once when Paul installed him as the pastor at Ephesus and then departed. That could have been the case, when he left. Or another is mentioned in Acts, chapter 20, when the apostle Paul goes to Ephesus and meets with all of the elders of that church on a beach and he addresses them. And he's about to depart, and the Bible tells us that as they parted they wept allowed and they embraced him in a farewell.
Sad, most of all, because he said they would never see his face again. Perhaps Timothy was among them when that departure took place and he freely wept. Well, it's one thing to do that, but it's quite another thing to have your name written in a letter that everybody in church is going to read. "Oh, you're Timothy. You're the guy that cries. You're the tenderhearted dude that wept at that departure." It could be embarrassing for some men to have that fact known publicly. Especially men in a culture like ours where traditionally we have told boys that it's just not manly or cool to cry; it's weak if you do. One commentator that I read said, "Tears from a man like Timothy were more allowable among those of Paul's era than among modern men of the West."
But, listen, tenderness is a good trait, especially in a man. Any jerk can act aloof and macho. That's the easiest trick in the book. That is not necessarily masculine. Because even God himself compares himself to a mother in the book of Isaiah chapter 66 verse 13. "As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem." That's God comparing himself to the tenderness of a mom. The Jews had an old saying that goes like this: "God couldn't be everywhere, so he invented mothers." I tweak it a little bit and say: One of the ways God shows himself to be everywhere is through the tender care and love of a mother. But most of us learned tenderness from our moms. And I believe that is precisely where Timothy got his tenderness, from his mother and from his grandmother, the two women that would show it the most.
And here's why: most scholars believe that Timothy's dad died when he was young, and that he was raised by his grandmother and his mother. My mom was very tender and gentle. I think a lot of men would say that about their moms. I had a special affinity and love relationship with my mama. She was just so tender. You know, dad was dad. He was firm. He was, "Okay, well, you can do better than that." My mom was like, "Okay, it's okay. You're a---you're a rock star." Right? Just that encouragement, that tender encouragement. I just want to say, moms, one of the greatest contributions to your children is displayed tenderness. They need that.
A British psychiatrist John Bowlby writes: "The young child's hunger for his mother's love and presence and as great as his hunger is for food . . . her absence inevitably generates a powerful sense of loss and anger." It's tenderness that makes a man approachable. It's tenderness that makes a man relatable. It's tenderness that makes a man credible. So that's the first investment, tenderness. "Timothy, when I remember you, I think of the young man who cried tender, loyal tears, raised by his mom and grandma." Here's the second investment: godliness. Godliness. Verse 5, "When I called 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."
Did you make a note that in that text of Scripture his father is not mentioned? His mother is. Grandma is. There's no mention of his father. Why is that? It's because we believe that his father died, or here's another possibility, one of these two possibilities: he left the family, being an unbeliever. We're told in Acts 16 when we are introduced to Timothy, it says Timothy was "the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek." The text seems to indicate that we're dealing with a Jewish woman who believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but Timothy's father was an unbelieving Gentile. What does that mean? Simply this: Timothy got his faith matriarchally not patriarchally; from his mother, not from his father.
We know this further by the fact that Timothy, though he was raised by a Jewish mother, was never circumcised, because Paul has to take him as an adult young man and get him circumcised to bring him on his journey to the Jewish nations. Now why didn't he get circumcised? Probably because dad said, "Uh, that's not gonna happen. I'm a Greek. We don't do that. You Jews do, but I'm the dad---not gonna happen." So it never did happen, even though that was that was part of the covenant ritual that every male Jew went through. But his name, I believe it was his mom who picked that out, because the name Timothy means one who fears the Lord. That sounds more like a Jewish woman who's a believer naming her son that, rather than an unbelieving Greek. Timothy, one who fears God.
Well, we know his mom's name. The text says here it's Eunice. You don't hear that name much these days. I don't know if you know anybody named Eunice. I don't. But it's a terrific name. It's the Latinized form of the Greek word Euniké. Euniké, what do you think it means? It does not mean unique. [laughter] Euniké has the word in it niké. Some of you running enthusiasts know it as Nike, but it's niké. Niké was the winged goddess of victory. And niké, Euniké, or Eunice means one who conquers well or one who gets a good victory. And Eunice was appropriately named, because she conquered the forces of a divided home and lived to see her son become an evangelist. Eunice.
There are two times Paul goes to visit the city where Timothy and his mom and grandma are from. The city is named Lystra. It's in modern-day Turkey. When he goes the first time, that's when probably Eunice and Lois were converted to Christ by Paul's preaching. Timothy was just a wee lad at the time. Couple chapters later, after the first missionary journey is over, Paul returns to the town of Lystra, and by this time Timothy has matured. He had matured as a human being. He has matured in faith, led to Christ by grandma and mom. And Paul notices that, and Paul is impressed by that, and so on that second missionary journey that visit to Lystra, Paul invites Timothy to join his preaching team.
He saw some maturity in there and he goes, "I think God's called you into the ministry." And he joined Paul's team and became a preacher. I've always loved a preacher named G. Campbell Morgan. A lot of you have not heard of him. He lived a century ago. G. Campbell Morgan was called the prince of expository preachers. He was a great expositor in England. Well, G. Campbell Morgan got married and had four sons, four sons---all of them became preachers. But at a family reunion when neighbors and friends and family were all gathered, and one of the neighbors asked one of the sons, "So who's the best preacher in your home?" Thinking they would get the answer, "Well, Dad," or "my older brother." The young man said, "Oh, hands down, it's my mom. She's the best preacher in our house."
G. Campbell Morgan himself said that he got his love for ministry and the Word of God and preaching from his mother. He writes this: "My dedication to preaching the Word was maternal. The first Bible stories I heard, I heard from my mother." Now, when Morgan was about ten years old, he went to a meeting (I think in Manchester, England), where Dwight Lyman Moody preached and it impressed him. But it was his mom that gave him that real love for the Word. And so he went home after that meeting, but by age thirteen, by age thirteen he preached his first sermon in public. From ten to thirteen, you know how he practiced preaching? He'd line up all of his sister's dolls and preach a sermon to those dolls. The Scottish have a great saying. They say, "An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy."
I love that. Just a little bit of mama goes a lot further than a lot of sermons from a lot of preachers. Such was the case with Timothy. Notice the term "genuine faith" in verse 5. "When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and mother Eunice." The words "genuine faith," two words---one word in the Greek, anupokritos. You know what that means, don't you? Unhypocritical. Anupokritos, unhypocritical, translated genuine or sincere or real. Now, a hupokrité was an actor in the old days who wore a mask for a Greek play. And so unhypocritical faith is, "Here's a person who doesn't wear a mask and try to pretend their spiritual, they really are spiritual." The Bible talks about the spirituality of the lips rather than that the life.
There's a lot of people in that category. They know---they know how to talk. God said, "These people draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." So here's Paul saying, "You know, when I think of unhypocritical faith, I think of your faith, Timothy. And you got it from your mom and then your grandma before that." Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth president, once said, "No one is poor who has a godly mother." And any godly mother knows that it's the first five years of that child's life that are the most critical. Experts tell us that 85 percent of a child's character is formed, developed by the time they reach five.
That's why I often quote, and you've heard me say it time and time again, what Charles Spurgeon used to say: "Before a child reaches seven, teach him all the way to heaven; and better still the work will thrive if he learns before he's five." Five seems to be that magic number. Get it while you're young. Give it to them while they're young. Tenderness, godliness; here's a third investment: boldness. Tenderness. Godliness. Boldness. Verse 6, "Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands," writes Paul. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." What's the first word in verse 6? Some of you actually brought Bibles. That's always good. "Therefore." Thank you so much for that. "Therefore."
Now you know that "therefore" always means "I am referring to what I just said." You don't begin a sentence, you don't begin a thought, you don't walk up to a stranger and say, "Therefore." [laughter] You have to have said something before you say "therefore." You have to have a preceding thought that you are building upon. So, Paul says "The genuine faith that was in you and your mother and grandmother . . . therefore stir up the gift of God which is in you." In other words, "When I recall the foundations, Timothy, that you received of tenderness and godliness, you have every reason for boldness." The principle is simple: the product of genuine faith is faithful service to God. All the years of tenderness, all the years of teaching, will come to fruition and be worth it.
Now the fact in verse 7 that he says, "God hasn't given us the spirit of fear . . . ," did you know that many scholars, probably most of them, guess that Paul wrote this because Timothy was becoming fearful. Now why would that be? Well, it's pretty simple: Paul's in jail when he writes this. Paul's been beat up and arrested and the Roman government is getting hot and heavy with any Christian expression, so any other preachers are having second thoughts about being bold. Or another possibility is simply Timothy was becoming apathetic in ministry. And believe it or not, it happens all the time. You just do something long enough, long enough, and you sort of lose the spark. And so He says, "stir up"---notice---"stir up the gift of God which was in you---or which is in you."
"Stir up" means keep the fire going, keep the fire alive, fan the embers of your flame, don't let them die out. The principle is simple: tenderness and godliness provide the impetus for boldness. They give a child all that is necessary for them to face life with that attitude of "I'm going to make it through. God's going to do it. I'm not going to shrink back. I'm going to be bold." Moms, the seeds you are sowing now in your young child's life, you won't see them germinate for a long time, but when they grow, you could possibly see this---a bold, effective witness. Want to know what happened to Timothy? I've told you a little bit already. He joins Paul on a second missionary journey. You know how old he is when he starts? Late teens, early twenties. Christianity has always been a youth movement.
Timothy was young, but Paul said, "Aah, you're mature in the faith. I'll bring you along." He became Paul's disciple, his friend, his coworker for the rest of his life. He was with Paul in Athens, in Corinth, in Jerusalem, in Philippi, and in Ephesus. Paul refers to Timothy about eleven times in the New Testament and two letters are written to Timothy from Paul. How's that for impact? How's that for boldness? Notice what Paul says in verse 6, "Stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands." Paul laid hand on him. Now let me just back up. I don't know if you know or not, but in the Bible there's two different kinds of laying on of hands. One's good, one's not so good. There's a bad kind of laying on of hands: "And they laid hands on him and beat him." That's not a good laying on of hands.
That's a rough kind of laying on of hands. That's when your enemies do it. But there's a good, godly form of laying on of hands. That's the tender touch, the tender, gentle laying on of a hand. It's the affirming touch that says, "I know that God has laid his hand on you, and I am simply affirming and confirming God's hand upon your life." And Paul had done that. On some occasion he recognized that. Perhaps it was Acts 16, his second visit to Lystra and he brings him on that missionary journey and installs him into the ministry. Notice verse 2, Paul's writing, "To Timothy, a beloved son." In First Timothy he opens up by saying, "To Timothy, a true son in the faith." Now Paul is being personal when he writes that.
He's saying, "You are my son spiritually, not physically. You belong to Eunice physically, literally, actually, but you are my son spiritually. I came along and laid my hands on you and I affirm God's gift in you." And I think this is beautiful. I think there's a wonderful principle here and it's simply this: When a mother lays her loving hands on her children, someone else will come along and lay their affirming hands on your children. You do what you can do as a mom, and let God do the rest. You, as a mother, equip your kids with tenderness and godliness, and God will further equip them with a holy boldness. Let that seed germinate. Give it time. Watch it grow. It will. It's what Karl Menninger once said, famous psychologist who believed in the power of transforming love. He said, "What's done to children, they will do to society."
Now this is what every Christian parent wants. I've talk to enough over the years to sum it up by saying this. A Christian parent would say this: "I want my child, my daughter, my son, to grow up and love God and serve God." Psalm 127, "Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is his reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth." You know one translator says you could translate the word "heritage" into "assignment." "Children are an assignment from the Lord." See, you thought you'd grow up, get married, have kids, and your homework's done. Oh, no. The real "homework" is in the home. You do the work in the lives of those children. They're an assignment.
And he says they're "Like arrows in the hand of a warrior." And that terminology presupposes that children are to be launched. And it presupposes that you know what that target is. And it presupposes you've arrived at that target first, so you can live it out for them. You see, Paul said, "Timothy, you have an authentic faith that was first in your grandmother and your mother." They had it first. They were there first. They lived it first. You can't pass on what you don't have. They had it---it was real. Timothy got it---it was real. It presupposes you've been there. You can't tell a child, "Launch toward that goal," if you haven't modeled that goal for them. So, moms, we honor you. We honor your role today. We declare your role is the most important task on planet earth, the job of a mother.
Your job never ends. Your job never ends. [applause] I notice the men are clapping "your job never ends." "That's right, keep up the good work." [laughter] You know, my mom worried about me till the day she died. I mean, she was---she was with ill health on her deathbed and she'd say, "Did you get home all right? Did you eat?" I'm thinking, "Did I eat?" Woman's job, a mother's job never ends, but her influence lasts a lifetime. A group of second graders was asked a question: Why did God make mothers? Now you can suppose there'd be lots of different answers, right? Why did God make mothers? Here's a few answers. One said, "She's the only one who knows where the Scotch tape is." [laughter] That's a pragmatist.
Second one was, "Mostly to clean the house." [laughter] Well, that's an honest one. A third one is very raw: "To help us out of there when we're getting born." [laughter] Pretty raw, right? "To help us get out of there when we're being born." Here's how I'd answer it: To help us arrive at God's best once we've been born. [applause] And thank you moms for setting that as your goal. Are you perfect as a mom? Pfft, no. Your kids got stories. [laughter] But so do you about them. Thank you for your love. Thank you for honoring the Lord. Thank you for your tenderness. Thank you for your godliness. Thank you for providing the foundation for our boldness.
Father, we honor the women you've placed in our lives who are our mothers. Some of our moms aren't with us. They're a memory. Others are sitting right next to us, or are in this town, or in this country. As we honor them today, Lord, we believe in so doing we are honoring you and your gift to us. I pray, Father, that you will help those who are raising young children, just like we saw on that funny little skit. It just gets tiring. It gets hard. It's thankless and sleepless, but worth it in the end. Help moms display tenderness, emulate godliness, and provide boldness. We ask it in Jesus' name, amen.
Closing: One of the toughest jobs in the world is being a mom. And we appreciate the moms who work hard to take care of their families. How will you demonstrate your love for your mom? Let us know. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/giving. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque.