Give the “Timothy Advantage”

As Americans, we are devoted to the education of our children. We know they need a good foundation of knowledge in order to be productive citizens and good providers for their families. We know that a good education gives them an advantage in life. As Christians, we should be even more devoted to the spiritual education of our children. They need a good foundation of knowledge from God’s Word in order to be faithful and productive servants in the Kingdom of Christ, and to reach their eternal goal, the “prize.”

Paul’s young “understudy”, Timothy, is a good case in point. In 2 Tim 3:15, Paul wrote to him, “From childhood you have known the holy scriptures which are able to make you wise to salvation.” Timothy was prepared to accept God’s salvation through faith in Christ because he had been carefully taught and trained in God’s Word, which equips us for every good work (2 Tim 3:17). Paul remarks in 2 Tim 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.”These two godly women planted the seeds of faith in Timothy’s young heart by teaching him God’s Word and, no doubt, by showing him their own example of trust and obedience to the Lord. What an advantage Timothy had! And because of that advantage he flourished in his Christian life! Paul was able to entrust to this “faithful man” the teaching and training he needed to be a teacher and trainer for others (See 2 Tim 2:2)!

In contrast to Timothy’s positive outcome, consider the negative outcome of a particular generation of Israelites: “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who did not know the Lord, nor the work which He had done for Israel”  (Judges 2:10).  Imagine that! The grandchildren of those who first left Egypt through the Red Sea didn’t even know God or the great things He did for Israel! How could this have happened? Perhaps their parents were so busy conquering and settling the land – enjoying what God gave to them – that they forgot to point their children to the God who gave it all to them! It appears that didn’t make it their first priority to teach and train their children the words and ways of God (see Deut 6:6-9). As a result, they relegated that generation (and many to follow) to lives of sin, hardship and captivity. They put their precious children at a serious disadvantage and many Israelites floundered as a result. Church, we must not repeat their mistakes!

Instead, let’s give our own children and all the children we can reach the “Timothy advantage.” Let’s teach and train them “in the way they should go”, so that when they’re grown “they will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Teach them at home and bring them to our Sunday and Wednesday Bible classes, taking advantage of our other learning/training opportunities as well. Make plans for your kids to flourish in the faith, like Timothy, not to flounder in ignorance, like that post-Joshua generation of Israelites.

Rich Howell

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