“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.”1
Family traditions vary from culture to culture. Be it a special recipe, celebrations, gifts, or clothing, every family has a tradition that they desire will be passed down through generations. Legacies left to us from our great-grandparents include their stories of heroism and bravery, maybe even a medal awarded to commemorate their actions. Family history is sometimes passed on through photo albums or woven into a family quilt. These traditions and family legacies are meant to remind us of where we came from. Memories for us to cherish and to never forget.
From the colors we wear to celebrate our country’s independence, to the foods we set at our table to celebrate Christmas, and even in the way we worship, we are known in our communities by the traditions and legacies that have molded us. Most of the time, however, in modeling our culture, there is one legacy that fades.
When the apostle Paul wrote to his disciple, Timothy, (2 Tim. 1) to encourage him in his ministry, he made a point of mentioning the great impact Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, had on his life. Paul recognized the great, spiritual legacy of belief left for Timothy by these strong, faithful women. Timothy came from a variety of cultures, as his mother was a Jew, and his father was Greek. This not only made for conflicting traditions, but it also would have caused conflicting religious beliefs, since the Greeks had their own gods. Even so, mom and grandma had a faith so strong and so consistent, that Timothy’s life was bound to its legacy and to his belief in the one True God. Paul made sure that Timothy would always remember where he came from by reminding him not just once, but a couple times, that his genuine faith in God didn’t come from where he was born, but rather from the ‘Jesus Culture’ that was passed on through his family’s traditions.
In the 90’s, these song lyrics became the prayer of many families:
“... Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
Let us run the race not only for the prize,
But as those who've gone before us, let us leave to those behind us,
The heritage of faithfulness passed on thru godly lives.
all our hopes and dreams have come and gone,
And our children sift thru all we've left behind,
May the clues that they discover, And the mem'ries they uncover,
Become the light that leads them, To the road we each must find.
O may all who come
behind us Find us faithful,
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave, Lead them to believe,
And the lives we live Inspire them to obey.
O may all who come behind us, Find us faithful...”
I can almost hear Eunice and Lois saying these words as they prayed over their boy, asking God to allow their legacy to remain strong; that their ‘Jesus Culture’ would far outweigh their earthly culture.
With the holidays just around the corner, we start to think of all the traditions, instilled in us by our family’s culture, that we want to share with our children. Let us not forget to share the most important legacy of all – our faith in Jesus.
Dear Lord, my culture gives me many beautiful traditions, and my family’s legacy carries many cherished stories, but the one I want to pass on to my children is the oldest and dearest one of all, the legacy of the love you have shown for humanity since the beginning of time; a legacy that breaks down all cultures into one – The Jesus Culture, where the greatest tradition is worshipping your Holy name. May that legacy be so strong that it leads my family to you and is cherished forever. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
2 Tim. 1:5 (NLT)
“Find us Faithful”, Song by Steve Green
All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.