By Bruce Green
Teaching Minister at 10th Street Church of Christ
Quick question: What would Paul have been without Timothy?
Timothy was Paul’s helper for almost 20 years. What did he do for Paul? Basically, whatever Paul needed to have done. Paul left him at Ephesus to deal with some problem teachers while he went to Macedonia (1 Timothy 1:3ff). He sent him to Thessalonica from Athens when he became concerned about the welfare of the church there (1 Thessalonians 3:1ff). Paul’s letters are chock full of references like these telling us the many ways in which he utilized Timothy.
So back to our question, our answer would be that if there was no Timothy, Paul’s ministry would have been significantly impacted. Paul still would have been Paul; it’s hard to believe that he wouldn’t have found a way to do whatever needed to be done; but still Timothy was a huge blessing to him. And, when the end is in sight for Paul (2 Timothy 4:6ff), he tells Timothy, “Do your best to come to me quickly” (v. 9). That says it all, doesn’t it?
The follow up question to this is: Where would Timothy have been without his mother (Eunice) and his grandmother (Lois)? That’s even easier to answer. After all, they were responsible for the “sincere faith” that Timothy possessed (2 Timothy 1:3). They were responsible for the fact that “from infancy” he had “known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (3:15). Without them, there’s no reason to believe Timothy would have been part of the church at Lystra when Paul and Silas showed up there (Acts 16:1ff).
Putting it all together, it you take away Eunice and Lois—Paul is in big trouble!
Qualify that any way you feel the need to, but don’t miss the point. These two women were involved in changing the world.
That’s what sincere faith will do. What is it? It’s the real thing—not an imitation, duplication or exaggeration. It is genuine — there’s nothing fake or phony about it. There have always been moms who major in it. They are followers of the Lord and, more than anything else, want their children to be as well. Timothy’s mother, Eunice, held to her faith despite being married to someone who wasn’t a believer (I’m sure there’s a story there). With the help of her mother (Lois), they raised Timothy to be a follower of the Lord and the rest is history.
Have you ever noticed how in movies or on TV, there are never any insignificant actions? Everything someone says or does has some kind of consequence and it’s sooner rather than later. Real life doesn’t work exactly like that. While everything we do has consequences, it almost always takes more than 90 minutes to find out what those will be. Sincere faith does what it does day after day, year after year, because it believes in the rightness of what it is doing more than results it is currently receiving! That’s exactly what Lois and Eunice did with Timothy.
And disciples everywhere owe a debt of gratitude to these ladies who helped changed the world.
You can find more of Bruce’s writings at his website: a-taste-of-grace-with-bruce-green.com