Since January, I have had the honor and privilege of worshipping God with my 94-year-old mother. After prayer, reading from the Bible, and singing hymns and listening to gospel music, the presence of God would be so intense that tears would fill our eyes and moments later happiness, joy, and love would surround and enter us. WOW! There is something very special about praising God with Mom.
I have truly been blessed with role models in my life, especially my father (deceased) and my mother. Both were practicing Christians, great parental examples, and rich in values and work ethic. (Dad was a coal miner and foundry worker, while Mom worked equally hard, raising eleven children.)
WITHOUT SAYING A WORD, WE MODEL OUR VALUES. Experience and history prove that parents, siblings, friends, teachers, coaches, co-workers, ministers, employers, employees, and politicians (at all levels) leave lasting footprints. The cliche, “Like father, like son” often becomes a truth passed on repeatedly from generation to generation. The apostle Paul teaches second generation Timothy through his life experiences and living the Faith (1st and 2nd Timothy).
In the Bible, Timothy becomes a prime example of one who was greatly influenced by a godly mother, grandmother, and missionary of God, the apostle Paul. Following in the footsteps of Paul, Timothy as a young minister would face godless cultural-environmental challenges, conflicts, and pressures inside and outside of the church at Ephesus. Paul, facing death in a Roman prison, convicted of being a follower of Jesus of Nazareth encourages Timothy to remain true to the faith, “Let no man despise thy youth: but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (Timothy 4:12).
Today we should be aware of the destructive influences that are fighting for the heart and soul of America and our children. We need to “Preach the Word: be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with long-suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4)
Our generation must live in such a way to pass the “torch” of the believer and practitioner of the faith to the children of tomorrow. We need to meet uncertainties of today with the certainties of God’s eternal promises. Thank you dad, thank you mom, and many others, who live by example with Jesus as Lord.
The writer is the pastor emeritus of New Life Church in Port Jefferson.