Both of these ladies are mentioned together by name in only one verse of Scripture. But, oh, what is said about them in those few words is something that all mothers should heed.
Acts 16:1 tells us a little bit about Eunice, "Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:" Timothy's mother was a Jewess. But the Bible says she was also a believer. When she accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as her Saviour we do not know. Nor do we know who lead her to the Lord. This is not really important. The fact that she got saved is.
What a testimony these two women had. When Paul was imprisoned in Rome, near the end of his life, he wrote to Timothy encouraging him in the work of the ministry. But first he took the time to eulogize the two women in Timothy's life that had the greatest impact on him spiritually.
(2 Timothy 1:2-5) To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; When I call to remembrance the UNFEIGNED FAITH that is in thee, WHICH DWELT FIRST IN THY GRANDMOTHER LOIS, AND THY MOTHER EUNICE; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
What more could be said of these two women. They were esteemed in Paul's eyes because of their great faith.
Let's look at how Paul describes this faith. He calls it unfeigned. Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language describes unfeigned as "not counterfeit; real; sincere." The faith of not only Timothy but also of his mother and grandmother was genuine. It was also visible. Faith like that cannot be hidden. It shows. It was so obvious that it was passed on from generation to generation like a physical characteristic.
Jesus spoke of this in Luke 11:33-36 when He gave the illustration of the candle. "No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light."
What He is saying here is what we are and what we believe in should be evident to others. They should not have to guess at or question what we believe. How can we show faith when it is an unseen quality that we possess? How do we show others that special something that is in our heart? The Bible says in Luke 6:45, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh."
Our faith can be "seen" in the words that we speak. "Praise the Lord." "Hallelujah!" "God is good." "Amen!" A good friend of ours always says, "It's great to be saved!" Don't wait until a church service to say things like this. You should say them all the time. They show your faith. And they will help to strengthen others whose faith is weak.
Paul also says that their faith dwelt in them. What did he mean? They just didn't have faith but their faith was rooted and grounded in them. Dwell means to abide; to live in a place; to remain. (Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language)
Their faith went deep. Everything they did in life was based on what they believed. Not the other way around. Too many people today try to adapt the Bible and what it says to the way they live their lives. "I want to do this and go here and live this way and I will find verses to back me up." No. NO. NO! It doesn't work that way. You read the Bible and do what it says no matter what you think or how you feel about it.
Let me give you an example. The world teaches that it is all right for women to wear pants. Clothing designers make pants for women. The advertising world puts women in pants. So pants become acceptable for women to wear. And Christian women wear pants. They search the Scriptures and proudly declare that the word "pants" is not found anywhere in the Bible. And they are right. The word "pants" is not in the Bible.
So the erroneous conclusion is drawn that since pants are made for women and the Bible doesn't speak out against them then it must be okay for women to wear pants. And so women wear pants with a clear conscience.
If you read that last paragraph carefully you will notice that I said "erroneous" conclusion. Yes, ladies, you are about to be "caught with your pants down", so to speak.
Turn to Deuteronomy 22:5 and be prepared to do some serious cringing. "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God."
Let's read it again. "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God." Read it again and again until it sinks in. A woman is not to wear men's clothing.
What do men wear? Do they wear skirts? No, of course not. Do they wear dresses? Don't be ridiculous! Do they wear jumpers? No, obviously they wear pants! Then pants must be men's apparel, right? RIGHT!!
This subject is covered extensively in my book, The Woman God Wants Me to Be, so I won't go into it now. Let me just recommend it to you and let me get back to the point I'm trying to make.
We are to study the Scriptures and apply them to our lives no matter if the world agrees with them or not, no matter if we agree with them or not, no matter if you or anyone else interprets them that way or not. The Bible is still the Bible whether it has your stamp of approval on it or not. God is still God and He has the first, last and final word on HIS WORD.
God cares about you but God doesn't really care about your opinion especially when it comes to obeying Him.
Where we get into trouble is when we try to make the Bible fit how we want to live our lives and we don't adjust our thinking to live according to what the Bible says. That is why it is so important for us to be rooted and grounded in the Word of God and have unfeigned faith. We do what God says because of what He did for us, sending Jesus Christ to die for us, and because we love Him.
Make sure that your faith dwells in you. Let's take a look at some of the character traits that Lois and Eunice passed on to Timothy.
The recipe for a good Christian testimony for children is:
To have COMPASSION means to care for or be concerned for another; to suffer with another; to have pity for another because of their circumstances. We are to have compassion on the lost and be concerned about them going to hell. To be compassionate means to be merciful; to have a heart that is tender, and easily moved by the distresses, sufferings, wants and infirmities of others.
Only a true Christian can possess real compassion because it comes from Jesus Christ through the believer to others. (John 13:35) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. Jesus is the greatest example of someone with true compassion in the Bible. And it is only through the love of Jesus Christ that we too can have that kind of compassion because it comes from God and not from us.
HUMILITY, in theological terms, consists of a deep sense of one's own unworthiness in the sight of God; to be lowly in mind (not proud or boastful); to be sorry for sins, and submission to the divine will of God. This is one of the greatest character traits you can pass on to your children. A humble person admits his weakness before God therefore he can be strong in the Lord. A humble person sets aside his own desires for the needs of others. A humble person puts God first.
King Josiah was a humble man in God's eyes. He was eight years old when he took the throne (2 Chronicles 34:1). Verses two and three say, "And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images."
He was only sixteen years old when he sought the Lord for help and guidance. And God rewarded him. Let's look at verse 27, "Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD."
Humility begins in the heart. A person who "determines" that they are going to be humble is full of pride. "Well, I can be humble if I want to be, just watch me." That's not humility, that's pride. Why? Because they are going to try and do it by themselves. It won't work. They don't have a tender heart. Children can be humble, even when they are young, if you teach them to have a tender heart.
INTEGRITY embodies moral soundness or purity; incorruptness; uprightness and honesty. It constitutes the whole moral character of a person especially in his dealings with others. Your children should be taught honesty from the youngest age possible. Don't let them take things that don't belong to them. Just because they are only one or two years old does not make it cute. Teach them to be honest when they are young and they will grow up to have integrity when they are older. Reputation is based on integrity.
(Job 2:3) And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. Job was a man of integrity. That is why God allowed Satan to move against him. God knew he could trust Job. Job had an excellent reputation with God.
LOYALTY is faithfulness; the careful and exact observance of duty, or performance of obligations; the firm adherence to a person or party with which one is united, or to which one is bound. A child should be loyal to his family and relatives, his friends, his teachers, his pastor, his employer and others who are in authority over him. Loyalty builds trust; disloyalty destroys trust. Disloyalty brings disunity, which does great harm to the cause of Christ.
Perhaps the greatest example of loyalty in the Bible is the story of Jonathan and David (1 Samuel chapter 20). Jonathan protected David from his own father. You say, "Well, that's disloyalty. Jonathan should have sided with his father." No. Jonathan knew that his father was wrong and possessed with a spirit of jealousy and wanted to kill David. Jonathan was loyal to David. Remember our definition of loyalty: firm adherence to a person with which one is united. (1 Samuel 18:1) And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Loyalty runs deep. This is something that you need to be aware of concerning your children. Make sure that their loyalties are to the right people and for the right reasons.
To be DEPENDABLE means that you can be relied on; you can be trusted with confidence. Bob Jones, Sr. said, "The greatest ability is dependability." A person who is dependable is a person who will be used greatly of God. Sound speech will be followed by sound action.
(Titus 2:6-8) Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
Joseph was a dependable person throughout his whole life, as a son; a brother; a slave in Egypt; in Potiphar's house and in Pharaoh's kingdom.
RESPONSIBILITY is the state of being accountable or answerable to someone else or to our own self for our actions. An irresponsible person must always be reminded to do those things that are required of him. An irresponsible person is a burden to others who often have to take on his duties in addition to their own. A Christian should be responsible to God first for his faithfulness in his work for the Lord. Responsibility begins in your mind and should be an important part of your thought life.
Esther was a responsible woman. She was willing to take responsibility for her own actions in preserving the Jewish nation. (Esther 4:16) Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. She determined in her mind that she was going to put God first no matter what the consequences were for her.
ENLIGHTENMENT means to give a clearer view; to enable to see or comprehend truth; to illuminate with divine knowledge. An enlightened person has a tremendous ability to help others in their spiritual walk. Those in the ministry especially need enlightenment or discernment from God.
Solomon had enlightenment. Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived. Solomon's wisdom did not come from man. It came from God.
(1 Kings 3:9-12) Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.
To be NOBLE means to be dignified; to be above every thing that can dishonour your reputation; to be ready and willing to receive the truth.
(Acts 17:10-11) And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Timothy was a young pastor. He had to possess all these qualities if he was to successfully minister to the people in his church. He got these qualities from watching and listening to his mother and grandmother.
Our greatest responsibility as mothers, to our children, is that of teaching them Christian character. In addition to the character traits mentioned above there are several others. But these will give your children a solid foundation concerning good character and reputation. A mother's greatest influence is on her children.
"As the children gathered around her bed, she took Tom by the hand, and then with great emphasis she said, "I'm expecting each of you to amount to something. Someday you will also be called Home. When that time comes, may it be said that the world is better because you lived." She shifted her head on the pillow. "The secret of living right is to stay close to the Lord. You must learn to pray. Pray when you go to bed. Pray when you get up. Pray during the day. And have faith! You must believe in the One who made you." Exhausted, she closed her eyes. . A few minutes later she made a sigh and was gone." (Stonewall Jackson by Charles Ludwig, c 1989 by Mott Media, Inc., Milford, Michigan, page 11)
Many times during the course of his life, the man known as Stonewall Jackson, a general in the Confederate army, would recall the words of his dying mother. He drew comfort from them.
Teach your children to pray. Listen to their prayers. Make sure they have a prayer life. If they resent you for this then you know that they don't. Make sure that there is no sin in their lives so God can hear their prayers. (Psalm 66:18) If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
"No doubt Fanny Crosby's greatest debt to her grandmother lay in the fact that it was she who early introduced Fanny to the Bible and saw to it that this Book became more familiar to her than any other. The truths of the Word of God were literally breathed and bred into the child's mind and heart. So great was her devotion to the Book throughout her life that she declared, 'All that I am, and all that I expect to be, in literature or in life, is due to the Bible.'
In her early girlhood Fanny Crosby could repeat from memory the books of the Pentateuch, most of the New Testament, many of the Psalms, the Proverbs, the book of Ruth and the Song of Solomon.
When ones realizes that all this was accomplished without natural vision he wonder at the perseverance of the courageous child and the patience of her loving grandmother-teacher.
The Bible became to Fanny Crosby not only a source book of poetic inspiration, but a guide that should govern her conduct all through life. No doubt the beauty and symmetry of her consistent Christian life were largely the result of the teachings of Jesus, implanted deep within her girlish heart by a pious mother and grandmother. Like Timothy of old, hers was a rich and noble heritage, a birthright which was to prove her strength and stay through all the vicissitudes of a long and useful life." (Fanny Crosby A Great Poetess by Helen F. Rothwell, Copyright c 1944 by the Boone Publishing Company, Des Moines, Iowa.)
Teach your children to learn to love the Bible. Why not teach them to read it? If they love it they will want to read it. Teach it to them from birth. Read it to them when they are young. Find Bibles that are appropriate for their age level as they grow so they can read for themselves. Have them bring their Bibles to church as soon as they can walk, even if they can't read. Make this mandatory so that they will get in the habit of taking their Bible to church.
Have your children memorize Scripture from an early age. Make little signs and let them decorate them and hang them up in their rooms. Say the verses with them until they can say them on their own. Reward them for their accomplishments. Why is this so important? Psalm 119:11 has the answer. "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."
Your children will always have temptations. Memorizing Scripture helps them to fight these temptations. Teach them how to resist the devil when they are young. Give them the proper tools they will need to survive in the world.
As mothers we also need to teach our children practical living skills. Things like cooking, cleaning, sewing, washing and ironing will give them some basic survival skills. Well, you say, that's fine for the girls but I have boys. Teach them these same basic household skills. Not all men will marry or stay married. Some men will remain bachelors, some will divorce and others will become widowers. What about those that are married but their wives are bed-ridden or handicapped due to an illness or accident? They need to take care of themselves as well as their wives and maybe even their children. Boys need to learn these skills as much as girls do. Don't allow your children to think of these skills as "women's work."
Remember, children also learn by observation. So make sure that your labours, whether of the physical or spiritual kind, are with a joyful heart. If you hate washing the dishes and murmur and complain every time you have to do it then don't expect your children to do it without a fight. Why should they want to do something that mom hates to do? Watch your attitude.
Give your children chores to do to teach them responsibility. Gear the chores for their age level. Toddlers can put their toys away once you show them how. Don't always run around picking up after your children. Use some wisdom in getting them to do things around the house. Don't always bribe them either. If you teach your children when they are young, by the time they are old enough to do some things on their own, they will be routine for them and you will be a happy mother. (Proverbs 22:6) Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
The greatest lesson we can learn from Lois and Eunice is to teach our children well.