Passing it on – Hope 103.2

Passing it on

By David ReayFriday 11 Mar 2016LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read 2 Timothy 1:1-5

1 This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I have been sent out to tell others about the life he has promised through faith in Christ Jesus.

2 I am writing to Timothy, my dear son.

May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.

3 Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again.

5 I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. (NLT)

Christianity is always just one generation away from extinction. If an entire generation stubbornly refuses to pass the faith on, it will die out. God seems to have decided that the faith won’t be perpetuated by mysterious osmosis or by some biological implant into newborns. It is kept going by individual Christians. Like Lois and Eunice for example. Lois made sure she lived and spoke in such a way that her daughter Eunice embraced the faith. Eunice had the same effect on Timothy.

What will we pass on to our children and grandchildren? Sure, they might inherit a house and some money. Some family heirlooms maybe. But what else? Lois and Eunice managed to pass on a faith to live by and a faith to die for. It meant so much to them that they didn’t keep it to themselves but shared it. Anyone who clings to faith in Jesus as some private possession has got the wrong faith. It is meant to be passed on, just like anything else that is precious to us.

Of course we might pass it on in various ways. Some put emphasis on formal faith sharing including rigorous Sunday School attendance and regular family devotions. Others are less formal, relying more on casual conversations and a distinctive way of life. Passing on the faith most emphatically doesn’t mean pushing it down others’ throats. That approach will lead to rejection. Nor does it mean simply living a decent sort of life. Christianity, after all, includes that but is much more than that. It will mean passing on our humble and helpless trust in Jesus for mercy; our loving engagement with the people of God; our real yet imperfect endeavours to live a life pleasing to Jesus.

And yet having done all that, there is no guarantee our children and grandchildren will embrace our faith. That is their decision. Our job is to communicate the faith, not impose it on them. Lois and Eunice provided a great context in which Timothy could embrace Jesus, but Timothy still had to do it for himself. We can neither take all the credit for our children’s faith or all the blame for their lack of it.

David Reay