Commentary by Walter Albritton


                                   November 23, 2008


God Expects Us to Faithfully Pass On the Faith to Others


2 Timothy 2:1-3, 4:1-5


Key Verse: What you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well. – 2 Timothy 2:2


Paul understood how the Christian faith is preserved and passed on to future generations. So he charged his young protégé Timothy with the responsibility of entrusting the faith to faithful people who would pass it on.

Timothy understood also. He had become a believer through the influence of his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. And he was indebted to Paul, his mentor and father in the faith. Surely Timothy’s eyes were moist that day as he accepted the mission Paul gave him – to pass the faith on to others so that the next generation could know Christ as Savior.  

I am indebted to my parents for the quiet but persistent way they influenced me to trust God. Neither Dad nor Mom talked a lot about God. But they lived the faith; they walked the walk. I never remember them discussing whether or not to go to church. On Sundays we went to church except on those rare occasions when “the ox was in the ditch” because of the weather or a sick animal on the farm.

As I grew up I gradually became aware that my parents were God-fearing people. This was apparent because of some of the things our family did, and did not do. On the plus side, we attended church and worshiped God. Dad prayed a prayer or “blessing” before every meal. Dad and Mom worked hard so that our family could enjoy a good life. Dad was honest to the core.

Because of the example of our parents, we did not smoke or drink alcoholic beverages. We did not use profanity. I never heard either of my parents use the “F” word that has become commonplace in today’s society. Interestingly, to this day I have never heard either of my siblings use profanity. This is one indication of the strong influence of our parents.

I realize that genuine Christianity is not a list of Do’s and Don’ts but a relationship to Jesus Christ. What I see clearly now, however, is that the godly influence of our parents made it much easier for my siblings and I to embrace Christ as our Lord and Savior. In fact, we had the joy of seeing our parents grow in grace so that knowing Christ became more important than “the rules” of our childhood.

Passing the faith on to others is not a responsibility assigned only to the clergy. All members of the body of Christ share this privilege of living so that others can “catch” the faith by observing their example.

Faithfulness is not always easy. Great sacrifice is often demanded from those who serve Christ. Today thousands of believers in many nations are suffering because of their faith in Christ. Some in India, for example, are faced with the option of denouncing Christ and returning to Hinduism or being killed.

Paul realized that Timothy would need help from the Lord to remain faithful in his mission. We all need the strength that is found only in the grace of God. So when Paul says to Timothy, “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus,” he is speaking also to you and me.

Over the years Oswald Chambers has reinforced this truth in my heart through his teaching in My Utmost for His Highest. Perhaps his words will grip you as they do me:

“I must learn that the purpose of my life belongs to God, not me. God is using me from His great personal perspective, and all He asks of me is that I trust Him. I should never say, ‘Lord, this causes me such heartache.’ To talk that way makes me a stumbling block. When I stop telling God what I want, He can freely work His will in me without any hindrance. He can crush me, exalt me, or do anything else He chooses. He simply asks me to have absolute faith in Him and His goodness. Self-pity is of the devil, and if I wallow in it I cannot be used by God for His purpose in the world.”

For some reason I have had to come again and again to this kind of surrender. When I do, then I join the hosts of faithful disciples who have kept the faith, despite their suffering, and passed the faith on to future generations.

In my first appointment as a pastor I met Frank Pierce, a godly farmer who had been superintendent of his church’s Sunday School for 50 years. He was proud of having never missed a Sunday in all those 50 years. One Saturday it started snowing. By Sunday morning the snow was so deep that no one in this rural Alabama community could get to church. We all stayed home.

The next Sunday when we gathered, Mr. Pierce shamed us all. He had walked four miles through the snow to church. He turned on the heat and stayed awhile, then returned home when no one showed up. Faithfulness meant a lot to Frank Pierce. And by his example, and the strength of his character, he influenced many family members and friends to trust the Lord.

Let us ask the Lord for grace to stay the course as disciples of Jesus no matter what the cost. Our faithfulness can make a difference too. Strong in the grace of God, we can faithfully pass the faith on to the next generation.

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