What is your picture of the early home life of a person who grows up to be an amazing servant of God? Perhaps a bit ideal? Timothy became the latter…an amazing servant of God…and yet the picture of his early home life could be captured in words like “imperfect” or “not what God had in mind.”
If honest, all of us would have to ascribe those kinds of words to our parental home. (I have to say that carefully, because my Mom and Dad will likely read these words!) Meanwhile, I will just go ahead and say that for my own children. There were elements that could have been better. Celeste and I are not perfect. We wish we could call out, “Mulligan” and redo a few things. And yet, an imperfect upbringing does not have to derail our future ministry!
For Timothy, one of the elements of his imperfect upbringing was the spiritual disunity between his parents. Mom was a Jew who became a follower of Jesus. Dad was a Gentile who apparently hadn’t come to faith. This isn’t marriage the way God had intended it, but it was reality. And perhaps it was the reality in your parental home, or, maybe it is a description of the present reality.
Thankfully, those imperfections don’t have to limit our spiritual development or that of our children. Even though Timothy’s Dad didn’t follow Jesus, Mom and Grandma did. They had come to Christ. They modeled a sincere faith it to little Tim even when Dad didn’t. Even if Dad didn’t participate, they made sure that Timothy was exposed to the word of God as a child. What did that look like? We aren’t told for sure. Perhaps they shared Old Testament Bible stories by reading them or acting them out.
And as to a father? Paul became that in many ways. In fact, you read it earlier, but Paul referred to Timothy as “my dear son.” (2 Tim. 2:2)
God was making a man of God out of person who grew up in an imperfect environment by giving him the right kind of people to model his life after. Even if your home environment isn’t or wasn’t perfect, you can still be a person God uses…and your children can be too!