If you've spent any time letting your fingers walk through the pages of the New Testament, you've probably come across Paul's warning to the Corinthian church about being unequally yoked. (2 Cor. 6:14-18). A yoke is that wooden instrument that attaches two beasts of burden together at the neck. It keeps them moving forward, both pulling together at the same time with the same amount of strength. It makes sense that you wouldn't attach a Shetland pony and a Clydesdale to the same yoke and expect them to pull the same weight. The bigger horse would have to lean down so far that he'd be walking around in circles and the pony likely wouldn't be able to walk at all. You need the right partner pulling alongside you if you want to get the job done.
That's true in farming and especially true in in parenting. It's so important that parents present a united front to their children. Sure they're cute, but kids are crafty. They'll wear you out, break you down and then divide and conquer. Which of us moms haven't heard our children say " but Dad said we could __________". It doesn't matter how you fill in that blank. They have separated you from your husband as effectively as a pride of lions separates the weaker gazelle from the herd.
Whether it be school work, household chores, what's acceptable on TV, what time dinner is, having friends sleep over, getting a puppy or deciding when the training wheels come off, you and your husband must be in agreement. I believe, however, that nowhere is this more important than when it comes to raising children with faith. It is so very difficult, nearly impossible even , for an unbelieving parent to raise a believing child. How can you place your child's feet on solid ground if you don't know where you stand.
Timothy was raised in such a household. His mother was a believer, his father was Greek. We might never have heard of this young man without one crucial verse in the Bible "I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmothers Lois, and in your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded now lives in you also". Did you catch it ladies? Right there! The power of a praying grandmother. Eunice wasn't alone. Oh what sweet prayers those two women must have offered up on Timothy's behalf. We'll never know what they said, but Lois was enough of a counter balance on Eunice's side of the yoke that Timothy grew to be the man of faith he was. And we get to spend the next seven weeks learning more about him and his work.
Love, as always, Renée
Now on to this week's lesson
Re-read Acts 16:1-5, and skim Acts chapters 19-20
Memory verse Acts 20:29. " I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and not spare the flock"
1. What's the first thing Paul did when he stepped foot in Ephesus?
2. How likely is it that you would establish a faith connection when you meet new neighbors?
3. When Paul encountered resistance in the synagogue he switched locations and preached elsewhere until he'd spoken to everyone in Ephesus. What's your response when you meet resistance?
4. During the riot that occurred because the silversmiths were concerned about losing income, Paul's disciples wouldn't let him address the crowds. Why do you think that was?
5. Can you speak of a time when a fellow believer stepped up to be the voice of reason in your life?
6. Paul commissioned the elders to be the shepherds of the church. How did he prepare them for that role?
7. How did he encourage them?
8. What warning did he give?
For the good of the group: Who are you shepherding now for possible future service?
For personal growth:
It helps to know the background story of the church Timothy is being asked to serve. Think of how you're serving your church right now. How did you get that role? How much time did you spend in prayer to determine if this was where God intended you to serve? How were you prepared to serve? Were you provided with information about what was expected of you? Do you feel as though you were given adequate information regarding the pros and cons related to the poupulation you'd be serving and/or the task you would be doing? As you consider the eventual end to your service how likely is it that you would seek God's guidance to determine who should succeed you in service? Will you follow the model Paul set before us as you plan to prepare your successor?