The Role of Grandparents in Family worship
Read 2 Timothy 1:1-7; 3:13-17
“I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois”
Timothy was more than just a co-worker to Paul, he became his most loyal friend, faithful co-worker and trusted leader. Whenever Paul needed a person he could fully trust, he turned to Timothy. When Paul was imprisoned and facing certain death, needing a companion, he sent for Timothy. When the church at Corinth was in shambles and requiring someone Paul could trust to handle a very difficult situation, he sent Timothy. When writing to the church at Philippi, Paul writes about Timothy, “For I have no one else of kindred spirit.”
However, in some ways, Timothy was an unlikely candidate to become Paul’s closest friend and faithful co-worker. Timothy’s father was a Greek and his mother was a Jew. This in itself is intriguing, for a devote Jew to marry an unbelieving Gentile was unthinkable. Yet this appears to be the case. Did his mother, in an act of rebellion, abandon her heritage and marry a gentile? Had his mother abandoned her faith in her youth only to come back to it after she was married? We can only speculate. What we do know is that Timothy was from a mixed ethnic, cultural, and spiritual heritage whose father was not a believer. Therefore, it is surprising that when Paul first encountered Timothy on his second missionary journey when he arrived in Lystra, he was already a believer, one who had earned a reputation for his character and faith (Acts 16:1-2). So how did Timothy become a believer in the Messiah? Who taught Timothy in the scriptures and then influenced his character development so that he would become a man of such strong faith? Since it did not come from his father, where did it come from?
The answers lie in the passage before us. The depth of Timothy’s faith came from the influence of his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois. Furthermore, Paul first mentions his grandmother and then his mother, perhaps indicating that Lois was the spiritual rock of the family who not only influenced Timothy but even Eunice as well. In 3:13-15 Paul mentions that Timothy had been instructed in the scriptures from childhood. In spite of the fact that Timothy’s father was spiritually absent, Timothy still came to faith through the influence of his grandmother.
This is what brings us to the important role grandparents play in the spiritual formation of children. Even when the father (and mother) fails to be a spiritual leader, the grandparents can have a significant influence as they model the Christian life and instruct the grandchildren in the scriptures. Even when Timothy was a mere child, Lois, along with his mother Eunice, began to teach him the scriptures. It was their faithfulness in teaching that led Paul to highlight the transformational power of the scriptures in the lives of people (3:16-17). We may think we have minimal influence on the spiritual training of our grandchildren, yet we should never underestimate the power of scripture in bringing salvation to our grandchildren.
As a grandparent, you can play a pivotal role in the spiritual development of your grandchildren when you teach your grandchildren “when you sit in our house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:7). The life of faith we live before them and the conversations you have about God and Scripture with them can have an eternal influence. For spiritually influencing grandchildren, besides the parents, the grandparents are the next best thing!