“I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am 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.” 2 Timothy 1:3-5 NIV
So much of our church culture today does not value christian heritage. In fact, we have become almost cynical of it in many cases. I understand that sometimes those who have been exposed to faith from previous generations can become clouded, arrogant, and prideful. Should we diminish the value of heritage because of a few who miss its wealth? How much truth has been witnessed and experienced by generations before us who longed to pass it down, but we failed to received their gifts?
Paul speaks to the value of heritage in this passage. He not only speaks to its importance, but thanks God for it. To the mocker, this will seem like an absurd idea.
Picture this, you are alone, sitting in a Roman prison cell. You have an to opportunity to be angry with those who abandoned you, with God, and with the world for that matter. Or you can choose to look back and reflect on the genuine work of God you were able to be a part of, for which you are now in chains. Paul chose the latter.
Timothy was one of those reasons to celebrate. He was one of those moments to look up and be reminded that even in the present lonely, and discouraging situation, God’s work is still advancing. Timothy’s life was influenced greatly by Paul and no prison cell could take that from him. The present work that was being done through Timothy was also Paul’s reward.
He speaks to Timothy’s heritage. Faith from previous generations that was living in Timothy in this generation. Truth passed on, not just by information, but because their faith was sincere and withstood the trial, and the fire. The genuineness of this faith was given to Timothy by those who had paid a previous price for him to know it.
Have you ever considered that? The faith brought to you, that you now know, came first by the way of fire for someone else. First of all, Christ, but then by believers who were willing to endure in their generation. People who loved Him, and laid before us a rich heritage that we may not even realize has such wealth. How much do we really lose out on when we fail to see how my brothers sacrifice from a day before I was even born actually influences my life in this moment. This may be heavy, but it is truly worth considering. Because it makes me ask, “what heritage am I ready to leave for those who will follow me?”
Today I am grateful for my brothers and sisters who are in chains. Those who are paying a price in this generation like I know nothing about. I am thankful for my heritage in the faith. I may not be a third generation believer, but I have brothers and sisters of the family of God who have influenced my life and offered sincere and genuine faith. Not information, but faith that took action and thereby, became an example for me to follow. I do not want to be ignorant, nor arrogant of the wealth that I have been given by those who have loved Him and sacrificed more than I can see.