This is something I spoke at my church for Grandparent’s Day in 2015. It is based upon a blog post I found in my research for the subject.
Grandparents are a blessing. They are also the “little foxes” that like to spoil the “vine” of our children, too. It is humorous to watch grandparents. What was once a colossal “no-no” to us as their children is cute and adorable with their grandchildren.
My children’s grandparents hand out more money than I remember my parents ever doing. I can remember how hard it was as a child to get a quarter to buy some candy or a trinket toy from the front of a restaurant. But now, those same hands seem to rain dollar bills like the Sunday School Candy Rains of years past.
My children’s grandparents buy more toys than I ever remember my parents doing. Seriously! When we had our first child, Abigail, we didn’t have to buy any toys for her. I remember saving my money and collecting change from the couch to buy the GI Joe or pack of baseball cards I wanted as a child. Who are these people?!
These aren’t the same people that we grew up with. Bill Cosby once said that grandparents are so nice because they are old people that are now trying to get into heaven.
On a serious note, when asked to speak today, I immediately begin thinking about my grandparents and the memories I have of them. Those memories include times helping my grandpa plant seeds in his garden and grandma’s cooking. Or it could be the time my grandpa took me with him to help him sale watermelons on the side of the road. Or the time my grandma shouted in church while singing the old songs.
My grandparents were not the most educated and didn’t hold any prestigious jobs. I come from poor migratory farmers that followed the in season crops to picked blueberries in Michigan, strawberries in Mississippi, and cotton in Missouri. The other of my grandfathers was a carpenter and farmer. I observed that grandpa’s were, although loving, as tough as nails and grandma’s too sometimes.
But, from those humble beginnings came an understanding that you had to work hard in life if you wanted to support and show love to your family and you had to love God and serve him. I would say this sums up what I learned from my grandparents.
But, my thoughts began to transition to something completely different as I recalled the memories of my grandparents. I began to think about how my parents and Sarah’s parents now are the grandparents and now we are the parents. Time has done its job and propelled us to the present time that was once a distant future.
Now my children are making memories of Papa driving them around and sledding down the hill and breaking his back.
Popa Joe taking them to help in the garden or hunt for treasure with a metal detector.
Nana Jane’s cooking that they always seem to make cooked to order no matter the time of day.
Or, Nanny taking them shopping for toys.
Our grandparents play different roles in the lives of their grandchildren.
One role they play is that of a blessing giver.
We read early in the Bible in the book of Genesis how that “Grandpa Jacob” who had arrived to Egypt after the years of separation from his son Joseph blesses his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh. These two grandsons were born and raised in Egypt and when Jacob blessed them at the end of his life, he gave them equal status just like his other sons as a tribe of Israel.
Later in Numbers 6 we read about the blessing to be said over the children of Israel. It says:
22 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:
24 “The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”’ (Numbers 6:22-26 NKJV)
We pull from this passage that the blessing includes the Lord keeping them, showing them grace, and giving them peace.
Grandparents can bless their grandchildren spiritually by:
- praying for them and with them
- encouraging them in their gifts
- valuing them as God’s special gift.
Another role grandparents play is that of a legacy maker.
We read of the legacy a grandparent can leave in II Timothy 1 where Paul writes to Timothy about the spiritual legacy Timothy has. Paul speaks about calling into remembrance the genuine faith that is within Timothy and references how it was first in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. Paul was persuaded this legacy of a gift of God was also in Timothy.
Grandparents can be a legacy maker for their grandchildren by bringing honor to their family reputation through godly living. Let me encourage you to exemplify godly living through a life of integrity both publicly and privately. Remember, these little eyes and ears are watching and listening to everything.
Grandparents can build a legacy by leaving ‘good tracks’ for your grandchildren to follow. Do this by letting them know why you do what you do by being an example of faithful living.
Moses is speaking in Deuteronomy 4 and says, “Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the Lord my God commanded me.” He goes on to say, “that it is their responsibility to teach these statutes to their children and grandchildren.
Build that legacy with your grandchildren by making sure they hear the Truth of the gospel and feel the power of the Holy Ghost. Help us parents in establishing that relationship with God in their lives.
Solidify that legacy by showing them how to live godly in this sin-filled world.
The Bible says in Psalm 100:5, “For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations” (NKJV). I am so thankful for this.
God is so good to allow his mercy and truth to be shared with each generation.
Psalm 103:17 says, “the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children” (NKJV).
I am thankful that this same truth that was experienced in the New Testament book of Acts is the same truth that was passed down to me by my parents from my grandparents and I am able to pass it to my children.
Grandparents really are the key to keeping the truth alive and connecting our generations.
The memories of fishing, shopping, and eating are all really special to me. But, the memories I love most and are the ones that encourage me the most are those of my grandmother singing and worshiping during church or the well worn Bible that my grandfather reads literally every day.
These are the memories I have that encourage me to continue living for the Lord.
I’m glad to have these influences on my own children’s lives.
I love to see when one of the grandparents takes time to pray with the girls at church or at home.
I love to hear my daughters ask whether their grandmother knows how to speak Spanish because they heard her speaking in tongues at church.
I love for the girls to be able to be in the same church as both sets of grandparents. It truly is a blessing (and I’m not just talking about the free babysitting during church service).
I’m thankful that God’s mercy and truth has come from generation to generation through my daughter’s grandparents down to them.
On this Grandparents Day 2015, I want to encourage each grandparent to be a blessing giver and a legacy maker.
These are the important things that your children’s children will remember. Thank you and God bless.