Tracing stories

I don’t know when Lois lost her husband. The first time I met her, she was living with her daughter and son-in-law in a little town in Turkey.

She had at least one grandson named Timothy. She told him Bible stories. The same ones I heard when I was growing up. The one about Elijah taking care of the widow and her son. And Elisha taking care of the widow and her son. And Ruth marrying Boaz and taking care of Naomi, who had been widowed while living as an emigrant. And God reminding the people to take care of the widows and the fatherless. She probably told him other stories as well, about Joseph living among the Egyptians but remaining true to God. About Moses growing up among the Egyptians but remaining true to God.

The way that Lois taught Timothy about his heritage of faith caught the attention of two writers. Luke mentions it in his story of the first years of the church. And when Paul writes his last mentoring letter to Timothy, he talks a couple times about the faith in God that was evident in Timothy’s grandmother and mother. And wasn’t, apparently, part of his dad’s life.

We all form pictures of what it means to have faith. Some of them are rooted in rich, regular, reflective conversations. Others are formed in reaction. Sometimes we hear one story and make a decision.

For those who knew Timothy, the sources of his pictures were clear. Lois and her stories from the Bible.

May I suggest some reflection today? Who taught you what you know of following Jesus?  Is it a mostly positive or mostly negative picture? How much did they know? How intentional have you been at learning more?

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This grows out of my current obsession with Timothy. To keep up with me,  subscribe.

And don’t forget to pick up a fist-sized rock.

89 days to August 10.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

One thought on “Tracing stories

  1. I first learned about Jesus in my family and church community. I learned the Christmas and Easter stories; I loved them. I also learned that I needed to get Jesus into my heart (although I sensed that he was already there). I learned that Jesus in my heart meant I would go to an eternal heavenly home. . .I also learned that all who didn’t “accept Jesus” before they died would definitely go to an eternal literal hell, probably involving fire and thirst. I learned that the fate of many I loved had something to do with my verbal witness. Thus began a deep dissonance between my personal understanding of God and the God as described by those so intensely fascinated with heaven and hell and who is going where. So, yes; my journey of intentionally learning more has consumed me. Just now, seven decades later, I am beginning to relax. I now read the stories of the Bible in a way that is completely different . . . I see God, Jesus, and the HS as more interested in forever love than with all the sins that I trip-over in this often-frantic life!

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