Mothers have a tough job! A prominent early church leader had a mother and grandmother who played key roles in his life—so much so that the Apostle Paul singles them out in 2 Timothy 1:5: “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.” —NIV
You are connected with your past, present and future by your roots.
The Jewish people have a connectedness with previous generations that we as followers of Jesus should also cherish. In Deuteronomy 32:79, the Israelites were exhorted to remember the days of old. Consider who has gone before you, and what you can learn from them.
A wise Bible college teacher once advised me, “Listen to your parents and heed their instruction unless you have a very good reason not to do so.” Many young people do just the opposite—they refuse to listen to their parents until they have good reason to listen.
I am thinking of starting a new support group. This one will be for adult children of totally healthy and functional parents. Yes, some people do come from families that are dysfunctional. Nevertheless, be thankful for the good aspects of your roots and with God’s strength overcome the negative experiences. Build on the good that you come from and move on from there.
You are connected with your past, present and future by your faith.
Biblical parenting demonstrates faith to the child, while trusting in the Lord and the Holy Bible forms the foundation for living. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Effective faith trainers keep their eyes on the race and not on the circumstances. Acts 16:1 mentions that Timothy’s mother was a Jewess believer and that his father was a Greek. We don’t know for sure if Timothy had an absentee father or an unbelieving father. We do know that his strong personal faith was instilled and nurtured by his mother and grandmother.
Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Many parents, unfortunately, model for their children a trust in what they do see. Their lives focus on the pursuit of what they can experience with their physical senses—what can be seen, heard, touched, smelled and tasted.
Who and what do others see as the object of your faith? Are you building your life upon a foundation that will last for eternity or will falter with the next recession?
You are connected with your past, present and future by your influence.
The decisions we make not only affect us and those around us, but also those who follow after. The family we come from is not as important as the family we will have. You and I can’t do anything about the homes we were born into, but we can, as parents, profoundly influence our homes.
What’s going to be the atmosphere of my home? My words will spell the difference between construction and destruction. What kind of words will echo off the walls of my home and sink into the souls of my spouse and children? Will they be words that build up, or tear down? Every mother has the breathtaking privilege of sharing with God in the nurturing of new life. She influences a soul that will endure for all eternity.
Sarah Pierrepont and Jonathan Edwards were married in 1727 and went on to have 11 children. Edwards believed in rising very early. So, everyone in the house was routed out, even in the dark winter predawn, for prayers by candlelight. The family heard the father read a chapter from the Bible and then ask God’s blessing on the day ahead.
Each child had chores. As the child’s tastes developed, his or her tasks were chosen, as much as possible, on the basis of special talents and wishes. Courtesy was the rule. The parents approached the discipline of their children united. This may be one reason why the children, in turn, married happily.
How did Sarah Edwards stand up under this? Her security and fulfillment came from the certain assurance of her husband’s love and the place of great honour placed on her in their home.
In 1900, A.E. Winship tracked down 1400 of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards’ descendants and published a study detailing what astonishing riches this family had contributed to the American scene. (source: www.gutenberg.org/files/15623/15623-h/15623-h.htm)
By 1900 this single marriage had produced:
- 13 College presidents
- 65 Professors
- 100 Lawyers and a dean of an outstanding law school
- 30 Judges
- 56 Physicians and a dean of a medical school
- 80 Holders of public office:
- 3 United States senators
- Mayors of three large cities
- Governors of three states
- A vice-president of the United States
- A comptroller of the United States Treasury
- 135 Authors of books
- 18 Editors of journals and periodicals
Throngs of them became pastors and nearly 100 of them became missionaries overseas.
What relationships, values and priorities are you modelling for those that will follow you? For good, or for bad, you can touch generations for decades to come.
We should all consider who has gone before us, and how we go before others.