But as for you, continue in what you have learned, and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
(2 Timothy 3:14-15)
I walked into the house the other day and witnessed my wife sitting on the couch with of our grandsons snuggled up on each side of her as she was reading to them from the Bible story book. They were so engrossed in the story they were almost completely oblivious to my presence. Not that I minded; I was just delighted to see them that invested in what they were reading, not to mention their affection for Grandma.
The second Sunday of May is designated as “Mother’s Day”. It’s is an opportunity for us to express our appreciation to all the moms in our lives, whether it be our wives, our mothers, our grandmothers, or even all the women who have played an important role in our lives. We honor them by giving them flowers or taking them out to dinner, and yes, making mention of all their contributions in church. But do we really take time to think of the most important contribution of all—the faithful presence of Christ lived out in them in all the small moments of life?
This is exactly what the Apostle Paul does in the 1st and 3rd chapters of 2 Timothy. He writes, I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and you mother Eunice. (1:5) Later he writes, continue in what you have learned, and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings. (3:14-15)
We should not underestimate the importance of what Paul says here. He writes that the investment that Timothy’s mother and grandmother made in his life had a profound impact on who he was later in life. There is an important lesson for us here, isn’t there?
Life gets busy, doesn’t it? There is so much to occupy our time and energy. The older I get the more I am aware of the limitations of both. I watch the moms of young children in our church after worship on Sundays, and am reminded of my own family twenty or thirty years ago. There are a thousand and one balls to juggle, from keeping everyone fed to making sure the kids get their schoolwork done. And for those who work outside the home there is also the responsibility of getting to work on time. Who has time to read Bible stories? Yet, when push comes to shove, it’s the spiritual groundwork that is laid that is going to prove most important in years to come.
How is that groundwork laid? By our attention to all the little things in life. Not just washing dishes and clothes, as important as those things might be, but by the way our relationship with Christ is reflected in the everyday details of life. And that is exemplified as much as anywhere in the role that God’s Word plays in our lives, and how much that Word permeates everything we do.
If that is true in our personal families, then it is equally true for us as a church. The primary responsibility for raising our children lies within the home. But as followers of Jesus we are also part of his church. Each local congregation is a body, coming together for worship, but also to support each other in our Christian walk. When parents bring a child forward for baptism, they make a vow to the congregation as to how they will raise that child. But at the same time, the congregation makes a commitment to the parents to stand beside them and encourage them in the fulfillment of their parental responsibilities. That support should prove to be a lifeline for the parents. This is why things such as Sunday school and informal fellowship are so important. Thus on Mother’s Day do we not also thank our Sunday school teachers?
Parenting is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard work. Ask any of the moms (and dads) present today. We take the time to applaud you. We also encourage you with the words, “Keep up the good work, knowing that your labor is not in vain.
Pastor Tom Bridgman