Timothy was an amazing servant of God. When you hear about a man like Timothy, perhaps you imagine his early years were ideal. And yet the picture of Timothy’s early home life would be better described with words like “imperfect” or “not what God had in mind.”
If honest, all of us would have to ascribe those kinds of words to at least a few aspects of our own parental homes. I have no problem admitting it when it comes to my own children. Certain elements could have been better. Celeste and I are not perfect. We wish we could call out, “Mulligan” and redo a few things. I’m guessing that’s true of your own parents as well. Thankfully, though, 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 intended it, but it was Timothy’s parents’ reality. 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 later became that for Timothy 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 someone 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!