Having been reminded of the unfeigned faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded, in you also, 2 Tim 1:5.
Did you see it? Don’t feel bad. I missed it too, for years.
Wasn’t it great that Eunice taught her son so well? But how many of us are thinking in the back of our minds, “Tsk, tsk, it would have been easier if she had married a child of God to begin to with.” I have been guilty of such snap judgments myself over the years, placing these people in my own culture and social customs. Lydia aside, it was not common for a woman to make her own living in those days, in those places. Because of that, to be left alone a widow was to be sentenced to a life of poverty and dependence upon the kindness of others. Look how many passages in the Law made provisions for the widow and orphan. They did not live in a day of insurance policies, pensions, Social Security, and Aid for Dependent Children. If God’s people did not follow the Law as he designed it, the widow and orphan would starve.
Parents often arranged marriages, and expecting their daughter to live alone and support herself simply because they could not find a God-fearing husband for her was not an expedient choice for Eunice’s parents. Out in the Gentile world with few practicing Jews in the area, the best they could do was find a Greek whom they thought would take good care of their daughter.
And here is what we miss: how do we know there were no Jews to choose from? It was Paul’s custom to go to the synagogue first when he came to a town, (Acts 13:5, 14; 14:1: 17:1, etc). From the account in Acts, it seems evident that there were no synagogues in Lystra or Derbe. That also means there were fewer than 10 Jewish male heads of household in the town, the number necessary to form a synagogue, and not even enough Jewish women to meet down by the river as in Philippi, (16:13). Which means there was no Jewish school to send her son to, one of the primary functions of a local synagogue. Besides these obstacles, how many little boys want to “be like Daddy?”
So now you have a woman married to a Greek, who was taught the scripture (Old Testament) so well that she “also believed,” meaning she accepted Jesus as the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy, something even the “well-educated” scribes and “pious” Pharisees could not seem to do. And she raised a son to do the same, without a righteous man to influence him, without a formal religious education, and without a community of believers from which to draw help and encouragement.
I daresay that none of us has the problems Eunice faced as a mother. In this day when so many want to blame everyone else for their failures, when so many blame the church for the way their children turned out, she is a shining example of what can be done, of one who took the responsibility and, despite awesome odds, succeeded.
The world bestows the term “Supermom” for all the wrong reasons. Here is the real thing, one we should be emulating every day of our lives.
And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart, and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates, Deut 6:6-9.