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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, February 23, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  2 Timothy 1:1–14

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,

To Timothy, my beloved child:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.

Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us. (NRSV)

In this passage of a very tender and intimate letter from the Apostle Paul to his godson (my interpretation), Timothy, the role of mother and grandmother in Timothy’s faith is noted. The faith of Lois and Eunice lived in Timothy. Almost as if the soil of his soul was tilled and tended by his mama and gramma, he was well equipped to take the lead in planting and growing the early church. A high calling with hand and heart wide open.

I think of my own mother and her mother when reading this passage. Growing up in a denomination that had few women ministers—and those I knew of were missionaries or in churches in the middle of nowhere—women were often in secondary roles. However, my mother was elected the moderator of the Baptist church in which I grew up. She made little of the fact that she was the first woman to be in that role. But she was a born leader—smart, capable, quiet, respected. And her faith in God was and continues to be simply rock solid. She loves “the Lord” as she says it. She reads her Bible daily. And she taught an adult Sunday School class until she was in her early 90s. Men and women were steadily fed from her knowledge and wisdom.

Her mother, Gram Ballenger, was baptized Catholic, but when her father died and her mother remarried, she became a Baptist. She met my grandfather in church—he sang in the choir and my grandmother, new to town, was in the congregation. Papa caught her eye, winked, and the rest is history—yes, all the way from that little spark to me. Gram did not talk about faith—she lived it. She took food to neighbors with none. She made sure all of the relatives in her family who lived hand to mouth had socks, shoes, and Christmas presents. She never knew a stranger and had a twinkle in her eye that caught the light of God’s almighty love. And in my childhood church services, my Gram’s tinny, straight-toned buzz saw of a voice could be heard over the congregational singing 500 strong.

Faith of our mothers . . . I know that faith. And along with Timothy, whose faith in the living Christ arose from that of his mama and gramma, may I in some measure carry on the faith of my Gram and Mom, because it is simply in my spiritual DNA.

Thank you, O God, for mamas of faith. We are so grateful that we have received from those who know you, who love you, and who could do no other than pass on their love for Christ Jesus to us. Make us ready this day to pass their love and their trust in us on to those who wait to know you. Through Christ. Amen.

Written by Lucy Forster-Smith, Senior Associate Pastor for Leadership Development and Adult Education

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