My daughter has become fascinated with Nancy Drew. In the last three weeks, she’s read at least a dozen of the novels featuring the girl sleuth. She comes by her love of detective stories honestly: I loved Nancy Drew too, and the blue-bound copies that my mom read in the 1960s still line a shelf in her house.
Seeing this affection passed down makes me wonder what else I’m passing down. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote that when he thought of Timothy, he was reminded of the “sincere faith” that lived in Timothy’s grandmother and mother. I hope that along with her love of mysteries, my daughter is also inheriting faith—that she will “serve” as her grandparents have, that she will pray, and that she will hold on “to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:1).
I also see hope here for those who don’t have parents or grandparents who know Jesus. Though Timothy’s father isn’t mentioned, Paul calls Timothy his “dear son” (v. 2). Those who don’t have families to pass down faith can still find parents and grandparents in the church—people who will help us figure out how to live a “holy life” (v. 9), and to embrace the gifts God has given us of “power, love and self-discipline” (v. 7). Truly, we all have a beautiful inheritance.
Heavenly Father, thank You for saving me by grace through faith in Jesus. Help me to pass down to the next generation the gifts I’ve received and the truth of the gospel.
In this, Paul’s last known letter, the apostle’s words are warm and personal despite his awareness that execution awaits him. After praising Timothy’s grandmother and mother, Paul mentions his protégé’s tears (2 Timothy 1:4). What would cause Timothy to weep? We don’t know for certain, but it’s likely that Timothy had been sorrowful at their previous parting. Such was the case when Paul said goodbye to another group of believers at Miletus (see Acts 20:37–38). Those believers in Jesus understood they wouldn’t see Paul again. Yet the apostle hoped to see Timothy again in this life. In his concluding remarks he wrote, “Do your best to come to me quickly” (2 Timothy 4:9)—a poignantly human longing from this aged prisoner.