“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I am grateful to God — whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did — when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.” – (Second Timothy 1: 1-5)
Recently, as I was having a particularly tough day missing my mom and grieving her loss, a friend of mine reminded me that “Moms are our anchors and when gone we feel adrift.” Of course, I know that this isn’t true for everyone, but I was blessed with loving parents, so this statement about moms as our anchors is quite true for me.
And now that both of my parents have gone to be with the Lord, I do feel adrift, and this is natural. However, before leaving this life, my parents passed on to me a spiritual anchor that transcends the anchor that they themselves were for me. This transcendent anchor that they passed on to me is my Christian faith.
Just as the biblical Timothy first received his Christian faith through the witness of his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice, I also am the beneficiary of the sincere Christian faith that was first held by my parents and then transmitted to me. Thanks be to God!
I don’t know what I’d do without the faith, hope and love of Jesus my Savior and Lord. Without the inner peace and joy of the Holy Spirit, I don’t know what I’d do with the grief and loss of this life. Because of the spiritual new birth that Christ has given me, I am able to simultaneously grieve my mom’s death and rejoice at her ultimate homecoming.
Passed down to us through our ancient forebears like Peter, John, Mary, Paul, Lois, Eunice, Timothy, etc., the Christian Faith is an amazing thing. It’s amazing because it allows us the ability to deeply grieve a loss while, at the same time, to rest in Christ’s blessed assurance of “the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting” (from the Apostles’ Creed).
And just as we have benefitted from the faithful witness of our Christian forebears, we are now responsible to pass the baton of Christ and his Church to the next generation. But, interestingly, we have to contend with a general shift in cultural attitudes and behaviors regarding religious faith and spiritual life.
This shift in American culture is a general move toward being a “spiritual but not religious” nation. However, we are those who know (by the grace of God in our lives) that religiosity and spirituality are not mutually exclusive. As Christians, we know that being spiritual helps us to be authentically religious, and being religious helps us to be sustainably spiritual. So, spirituality without communal religious practices (which act as transmitters of God’s grace) is simply unsustainable in the long run.
Therefore, despite this shift in culture, we must be faithful to our calling, duty and joy to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others and to pass on the Christian Faith to all those who would come after us.
“Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.” – (Second Timothy 1: 8-14)
We have revamped our Sunday School ministry format for the sake of more effectively passing on the Christian Faith to our children. The new Christian Education Ministry Team is dedicated to this purpose, and we need to support them in this faithful effort. Our Evangelism Ministry Team is also looking at ways we can be more hospitable to visitors. Through our Bible study ministry (and we are starting a new Women’s Bible Group), we are promoting deeper and more passionate Christian spirituality among our Bible study participants, equipping these Bible studiers with the amazing empowerment of God’s Word within the Holy Bible. Furthermore, I have been inviting grandparents to evangelize their grandchildren. If your children are not taking up the baton of Christian Faith, then you have to do it. So, if your children are not doing it, I encourage you to bring your grandkids to worship, Sunday School and Youth Group, because the greatest legacy you can leave them is a living faith in Jesus Christ.
All these things, in addition to the many other things we share together, are in order that we (as Paul writes) “join with [Paul] in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace” and in order that we “Guard the good treasure entrusted to [us], with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.”
Together in Christ, Pastor Tim