Passing Down the Faith

By Pr Herna Kong

Many of us are familiar with the saying “Like father, like son”, or “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”, which figuratively means the qualities, talents, traits or even hobbies of a child are similar to his or her parents’. 

Billy Graham’s parents grew up in a family of believers, and they came to faith in the process. They, in turn, nurtured their children lovingly in the faith. Their devotion to Christ was evident; they inculcated prayer, Bible reading and faithful church attendance in the family. It was in this spiritual environment that Billy came to faith at the age of sixteen. This solid foundation Billy’s parents laid for him brought him to faith and, in time to come, to answer God’s call to him to be a bold evangelist. 

Acts 16:2 tells us that Timothy grew up to be a God-fearing man, and was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. That did not happen just like that but because Timothy had been raised in the midst of a God-loving and God-fearing family. He had good role models in his family. His maternal grandmother, Lois, and his mother, Eunice, were believers. Even before they accepted Christ, as devout Jews, they must have taught Timothy the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:15). As such, Timothy must have been inspired by his godly grandmother and mother. These women lived out their faith in such a way that Timothy also came to believe in Jesus. Their sincere faith was transferred to Timothy, which Paul recognised: “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 Tim. 1:5).

Now Paul urged Timothy, his protégé in ministry, to continue in this tradition of faith, to “fan into flame the gift of God” in him through the Holy Spirit, who “gives us power” (2 Tim. 1:6–7). The Holy Spirit’s power enabled Timothy to live fearlessly for the gospel (2 Tim. 1:8). 

We can leave behind a legacy for those whose lives we influence, by our living in close communion with God. We can make His love a reality to others, in practical ways, like giving others our undivided attention, showing interest in what they think and do, and sharing our life with them. We might even invite them to share in our celebration—victory over sins! The example set by one’s role model and mentor helps prepare the way for one to come to faith.  

Prayer: Dear God, help me to live out my faith before others.