I recently said to my wife, “I can’t believe I’m living with a great-grandmother!” The Lord recently blessed our grand-daughter and her husband with a son, making us great-grandparents. Now, along with our eleven grandchildren, we have another generation to pray for and influence for the Lord. Grandparenting is a wonderful experience! Someone said, “If I’d known that having grandchildren was this exciting, I’d have arranged to have them first.” Sadly, many grandparents fail to enjoy a relationship with their grandchildren. As a result, they miss the opportunity to help build their lives. My wife and I are each the youngest of eight children. Our grandparents passed away before we were born or shortly thereafter, so we never enjoyed their company. We really missed a wonderful part of growing up.
When speaking, I often ask how many parents, grandparents and great-grandparents are in attendance. Then I ask if any great-great-grandparents are present. I’ll never forget the first one who responded. She was very old, and shy. When I made a fuss over her, she replied, “But I only have one.” I said, “That’s all it takes to be a great-great-grandmother!” What a blessing!
There are various Scriptures that give important advice about grandparenting. Deuteronomy 6:2 stresses how our obedience to God impacts our grandchildren. In Psalm 71:18, David wrote this: “When I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not, until I declare Your strength to this generation, and Your power to everyone who is to come.” He wanted to leave a legacy of God’s strength to his children and grandchildren. In Psalm 78:3-6 Asaph wrote of raising up four godly generations. Psalm 128:6 says that seeing our children’s children is a blessing from the Lord. And in Proverbs 17:6 Solomon wrote, “Children’s children are the crown of old men.” God has “crowned” us with 12 grandchildren. How many has He given you?
Titus 2 points out four ways we can influence our grandchildren. First, we can be examples. It says that the “older men” and “older women” can influence the younger generations by “showing yourself to be a pattern of good works” (2:2-7). It’s important to show them the way, not just tell them.
Second, we can be teachers. While our example is important, so are our words. Older women are to be “teachers of good things, that they may teach the young women.” Older men are to “exhort” the younger men to be “soberminded” (2:3-6). Our words and example can help our grandchildren.
Third, we can be encouragers. Titus 2:1 tells us to “speak the things that become sound doctrine.” Having learned the value of building our lives by experience, we are now able to help our grandchildren learn without making the mistakes we made. It’s encouraging to learn from those who have gone before us. Young people need all the encouragement they can get. Because we’ve been there and done that, our shared wisdom and experience can help them.
Finally, 1 Thessalonians invites us to be pleaders. There may be a lot of things we can’t do, but there is one thing we all can do, and that’s “pray without ceasing” (1 Th. 5:17). Age and physical limitations need not hinder our ability to pray for our grandchildren. When we communicate with them by phone, letter, card or e-mail we should tell them we are praying for them. We should also ask them for specific prayer requests. There is not a more effective way to influence the lives of our grandchildren than by praying for them.
Everything we do for our grandchildren is an investment in eternity. They only have us for a short time. Don’t miss the opportunity to impact their lives for the Lord. Every grandchild needs sweet memories of godly grandparents. By God’s grace, we can make our grandparenting grand!
By Jack Palmer
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org