Saturday, 14 March 2015

What Women These Christians Have!

"I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also" (2 Timothy 1:5)

It’s possible that Lois - the grandmother of Paul’s travelling companion Timothy – may have been one of the 3,000 converted to Christ on the day of Pentecost. Whatever the background of Timothy’s faith, his had the bond of old-time religion about it - going back three generations.

This is a pattern of Bible Christianity down the centuries. John Newton of the eighteenth century, even in his worst days at sea as a slave-trader, could never forget his godly mother who had taught him to pray before she died, when he was eight years old.

“What women these Christians have!” exclaimed Libanius, the fourth century Greek teacher of Rhetoric. Among Libanius’ students was John Chrysostom, the ‘golden-mouthed preacher of Constantinople’ as he became known. Chrysostom’s mother, Anthusa, lost her husband at twenty, and from then on devoted her energy to the education of one of the most renowned of all early Christian leaders. There’s something about ‘grandmotherly religion’ that can get passed on down the generations.

Think of the renowned hymn-writer, Fanny Crosby of New England, who lost her sight at six weeks old.  It was her Puritan grandmother who helped her to ‘see’ the world through her mind, and then helped her to know the Bible. By the time Fanny was twelve, she knew the first five books of the Bible by heart, all four Gospels and all the psalms.  Out of this rich storehouse poured the hymns -‘Blessed Assurance,’ ‘To God be the Glory’ – over eight thousand in all. 

Oh, there’s a vital role for dads and grandpas to play! But the big principle to take in today is that matters of faith and service are caught as much as taught. And the home is the best school of all.