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Eunice’s Family: What Can Be Done?

Marriage is life's most intimate relationship. No one will affect you more than your mate. "An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who shames him is as rottenness in his bones" (Proverbs 12:4).

For many reasons, Christians should marry Christians. Only in that case can you share what is most important in life — your service to Christ — with your closest companion. An unbelieving mate may influence you away from the Lord. If that does not happen, he or she will hold you back in some way or at least make things more awkward or difficult. Two people dedicated to doing God's will have a common basis for solving problems that come to the relationship. If God blesses the marriage with children, your parental obligation is much easier if both parents are Christians. And when death ends your marriage, how much better to face the loss of a companion knowing that he or she died in the Lord.

We need to emphasize these practical realities to people contemplating marriage. Nevertheless, some choose to marry those who are not Christians. Also, it is not uncommon among those already married for one spouse to become a Christian but the other does not. Such families should consider Eunice and take heart. She shows what can be done in that situation.

Acts 16 tells of Paul coming to Lystra on his second preaching trip. "And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek" (vs. 1). Timothy's mother was Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5). His father was evidently not a Christian, and he was sufficiently opposed to Eunice's beliefs that Timothy had not been circumcised (vs. 3).

What did Eunice do? Two things. First, she lived by her convictions, despite her husband. 2 Timothy 1:5 speaks of her sincere faith, which also characterized her mother, Lois. Second, she taught her son. Paul reminded Timothy that "from childhood you have known the sacred writings" (2 Timothy 3:15). It was surely more difficult for Eunice to have to do this training without a husband's help, but she did it. Doubtless Lois also contributed. If Eunice did it, so can you. It will require persistent instruction and a consistent example.

Something else about Eunice is noteworthy. It was at Lystra where Paul was stoned and left for dead on his first preaching trip (Acts 14:19). Now, this same apostle wanted her young son to go with him to destinations unknown to assist him in preaching. What would be in store for Timothy? How would he fare? Surely she had concerns. But the text reveals no hesitation on her part or his, and this faithful mother's beloved son proved to be a valuable worker in the Lord's cause. If you will be a Eunice, your son may be a Timothy.