In his letters to Timothy, the apostle Paul shares incredible wisdom regarding ministry, church leadership, and life as a follower of Christ.
While that wisdom was originally intended for Timothy as a young man trying to find his footing in ministry, it doesn’t take too long to realize that these scriptures are full of encouragement and instruction for homeschooling parents. Today we’re looking at those passages and diving into Timothy for the homeschool heart.
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There’s a lot of instruction happening in those letters to Timothy and, unfortunately, some of that instruction is heavily debated today.
Despite the varying viewpoints on some topics, there are some points that appear multiple times throughout 1st and 2nd Timothy; those points are where we find what Timothy has to say to the homeschool heart.
Timothy for the Homeschool Heart
Purpose is kind of a buzzword among Christians these days. We’ve got books and workbooks on purpose-driven this and purpose-driven that everywhere we turn. We’re supposed to be a people who are pursuing purpose with a passion, but what does that look like in the life of a homeschooling parent?
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me trustworthy, appointing me to this service.” – 1 Timothy 1:12
Have you ever questioned your calling or felt like you were wrong about your purpose? I mean, we see people all around us doing big, bold things for the kingdom of God, but us? Well, sometimes it seems like reading books with our kids, walking through the woods, and putting away the art supplies isn’t exactly kingdom work.
Here’s what you’ve got to remember, friend: all that you’re doing each day is ministry to your family. It’s always possible that God has called you to something additionally, but your ministry to your family is huge and has eternal impact!
It’s also a ministry that no one else can do for you. We’re too quick to think of ministry in the capacity of churches without seeing the ministry happening every day in our homes. To know that we are considered trustworthy of this calling is humbling. How blessed we are to be entrusted with these children!
With every ministry comes huge responsibility and homeschooling is no exception. Our kids are watching and listening. No doubt we will fail and we will fall sometimes, but it’s important to remember that our children are paying attention.
“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” – 1 Timothy 4:16
Our words and actions matter because this life that we’re living is our for such a time as this. Our influence has eternal impact.
Stewarding Your Influence
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12
There was a time when this verse made me think of life as a teenager, but as I get older I realize that this verse will always be applicable to my walk with God. It doesn’t just apply to me; it’s for you, too, friend.
Your homeschooling days give you a valuable opportunity to be the example Paul mentions to Timothy. It’s a beautiful thing because it happens so naturally through the life you have as a homeschool family.
When you’re mindful of your influence, you share your love for God with your family in the day-to-day moments. When you’re mindful of your influence, that example of speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity happens by default.
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and careful instruction.” – 2 Timothy 4:2
Better yet, when you’re mindful of your influence, you’re more likely to be prepared to preach the word through your daily interactions with your family.
Serving Despite the Faults
“Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” – 1 Timothy 1: 13-16
Paul was the first one to admit that he had a nasty past, but he didn’t hang his head in shame. He didn’t let who he had been get in the way of his purpose. Instead, he used those things to point others to Jesus. He made a difference in spite of his mess.
It’s easy to look at your past, your faults, and your weaknesses and feel like you’re not capable of the ministry in front of you. Helpmate, mother. teacher: those are big words with big weight.
“He has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace.” – 2 Timothy 1:9
If you don’t feel worthy of the calling, you’re not alone. None of us are worthy of the calling God has placed on our lives; that’s exactly why He calls us to ministry. It’s grace. We can only love our people — and bless them — because of the grace and mercy we find in Jesus.
In addition to affirming Timothy’s calling and issuing a challenge for him to move forward in that calling, Paul issues clear instructions for Timothy to follow in his day-to-day interactions. These instructions are valuable enough on their own, but they carry even more weight when you consider the world around us.
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” – 1 Timothy 4:1
Paul didn’t write those words two weeks ago, but it certainly seems like he could have. It doesn’t take long to find clear examples of deception and people abandoning the faith that you and I cling to and cherish. And that’s why the calling on homeschool parents matters more than ever. It’s up to us to be light to our families so that they can in turn be light as they carry out the callings God has for them.
Instructions to Timothy
No generation is without its challenges, but one that seems unique to you and me is the lightning-fast circulation of opinions, contradictions, half-truths, and blatant lies. The phones in our back pockets can be incredible tools, no doubt, but they often bring confusion, idleness, and discouragement into our days.
“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” – 1 Timothy 6:11-12
When we spend too much time scrolling through the noise and the nastiness, we in turn create a rushed, unmotivated, and negative atmosphere in our homes and homeschools and wonder why nothing’s working out the way we planned.
“Until I come, devote yourselves to the public reading of scripture, to preaching and teaching.” – 1 Timothy 4:13
While there’s nothing wrong with spending time scrolling through social media, time in God’s word should always take top priority. That’s where we find absolute truth, encouragement, correction, and the motivation to keep loving and serving our families. That’s where we’re reminded of our purpose and reasons to keep going.
You can’t give your family what you don’t have. If you want to pour into your children, lead them, love them, and teach them each day, you’ve got to be more connected to God’s word — your power source — than the newsfeed.
“Guard what has been entrusted to your care.” – 1 Timothy 6:20a
In closing, there’s no greater charge for us as parents than to guard what has been entrusted to our care. As homeschoolers, we have the precious gift of time with our children: time to teach them, guide them, and raise them up. May we never take that gift for granted. Let’s make it count.