By Sarah Morrison
Staff Writer for The Daily Grace Co.
Last winter, out of a surplus of boredom and curiosity, I decided that I wanted to begin beekeeping. I spent hours researching hive types and local ordinances. I pored over what breed of bees I would purchase, how many, and from where. I learned about how honey was made and why pollen was collected, what threats I would need to defend my bugs from, and how to tell the difference between a honey bee, a native bee, and a yellow jacket. I loved every second of learning about honeybees and dreamt of the spring day that I would be able to install them into their new home. I’d check-in on them every two weeks, learning about their behavior and habits. And if I was lucky, at the end of summer I would have 30 pounds of that beautiful liquid gold that we call honey.
I don’t remember exactly when, but I eventually found out that I’d married into a family with a brief history of beekeeping. My husband’s late-maternal-grandfather had decided to start the hobby when a swarm of bees had taken up residence in one of their birdhouses, and the rest was history. From my understanding, he was taught the trade by a fellow church-member, and that was that. He was a beekeeper.
I didn’t come from a family of many traditions, so carrying-on this hobby became important to me. It was a heritage of value, a legacy that seemed to be worth lasting. I never had the fortune of meeting the man, but now I dream of the day when we would beekeep together in the New Heavens and New Earth. I eagerly await when I do get to meet the man from whom my husband acquired his countenance and speak with him about the beauty of a honeybee’s dance or how endearing they are when they’re covered in pollen.
I absolutely love bees and tending to them. It brought me such great joy to name my two hives after my husband’s grandparents, and ever greater joy to give his grandmother the first jar of honey that I was able to collect. I can’t foresee a day in the future where I decide, without reason, to stop beekeeping. It’s something I hope to pass on to the next generation of Morrison’s; I hope to keep the heritage alive. But at the end of the day, I know that this legacy isn’t lasting. It’s earthly.
In 2 Timothy chapter one, Paul tells us what a lasting legacy is, though:
“I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.”
Paul wrote this letter to Timothy, his protégé, for the purpose of relaying the methods and means of church planting. Paul was nearing the end of his life and understood the great importance of the task of sharing the Gospel and making disciples. He knew that these things must be carried on to the future generations and disciples.
Paul was concerned with legacy. He was burdened with making sure that future generations had faithful workers who would be committed to harvest the ripe fields of lostness. Through this letter to Timothy, Paul is seeking to divulge his apostolic and authoritative wisdom so that the mission of church planting can continue, and the Kingdom of God can advance.
Amid the weightiness of circumstances, Paul thinks of the legacy that gave Timothy life. The Apostle knows he is about to taste death, that his race will be finished, and that he must commission Timothy to continue on in his place, and in spite of all that heaviness he praises God for two women: Eunice and Lois.
We see from this passage that Lois, Timothy’s grandmother, was a believer. She apparently wasn’t a passive woman of faith, because her faith in God was instilled in her daughter, Eunice. Even more apparently, Eunice’s faith was living and active because she bestowed in on her son, Timothy. Eunice’s and Lois’ faith now dwells within their beloved. Without the faith of his mother and grandmother, Timothy’s faith may not have existed or been as sturdy, but because of the strong women who raised him, he was versed in the Gospel and ended-up being a vessel of service to the Lord.
Both Eunice and Lois had counted the cost of the Gospel and considered it worthy to be passed on. While both of them are only mentioned by name once in all of Scripture, their impact has lasted for millennia. Their dedication to raising their son and grandson in faith and saturating their home with the Gospel indirectly enabled churches to be pastored and planted for centuries after their passing. In part, because of faithfulness of women 2,000 years ago, we have the privilege of hearing the Gospel today. This is the imperishable nature of the Gospel legacy.
Titus chapter 2 speaks to this same phenomenon: when mature men and women pass on their faith and duties to future generations, lives are pointed toward the Gospel. When girls and boys are raised up to imitate the Christlikeness of their elders, culture is transformed from within, and entire societies are enabled to function in a way that reflects the glory of God. When churches practice the passing-on of Gospel-centered legacy, future leaders are raised-up and empowered to proclaim the light that is the love of God.
This commitment to impart the Word of God to future generations doesn’t stop with biological family-ties. This commitment relies and depends on men and women of faith to entrust their godly wisdom and knowledge to boys and girls who may not be their own children or relatives. Churches need older saints who are committed to the task of loving and teaching children and young adults. Paul was not Timothy’s father, but that did not stop him from treating him as such (1 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Timothy 1:2). Paul pored over Timothy and treated him as a son, passing along his wisdom and knowledge of the Gospel. Despite the lack of bloodline, Timothy was the one who carried on Paul’s Gospel heritage.
Timothy was a part of two legacies: one from his mother and grandmother who imparted the knowledge of faith and the Gospel to him, and one from Paul who imparted apostolic wisdom and knowledge. A legacy that is imperishable is a lineage of believers who love Jesus Christ with all that they are. My bees will perish, and the heritage of beekeeping will one day become obsolete. But the Word of the Lord stands forever, and those that dwell richly within its pages have a heritage worth defending and continuing forever.