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  • Writer's pictureDwight Smith

Grandparents Can Make A Difference

hands of elderly and a child clasping

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. (Psalm 78:1-3)

In spite of the negative idea in vogue in many peoples’ minds about the past, the words from those who have gone on before us are valuable. They are to be sought out, nurtured and cherished. For as the saying goes, history does indeed repeat itself. Or as one very wise man said, “What has been is what will​ ​be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes​ ​1:9

Those of us who have a long term experience of walking with God, should be equally prepared to pass that relationship and learning on to our next generations. No matter how hostile the environment becomes, or hardened our own family might be in listening,

“We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” (78:4)

Our experiences within the journey God has led each of us to take, and His wonders that we have experienced along the way, should not be hidden. Those times when we walked through a shadow of death, or wondered where the money would come from, or were deeply hurt by another persons treachery, are opportunities for us to pass on to our children God’s forgiveness, protection and provision.

Each of our individual journeys has been crafted by God and superintended by the Holy Spirit. If we are in Christ, this is equally true whether we have been in occasional doubt, or full obedience. And, our next generations need to hear these stories, realize God’s sovereign role in them, and be inspired to follow​ ​our model.

Steve Green sings a song in close affinity to the words of Hebrews 11.

“We're pilgrims on the journey

Of the narrow road

And those who've gone before us line the way

Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary

Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses

Let us run the race not only for the prize

But as those who've gone before us

Let us leave to those behind us

The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives


Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

May the fire of our devotion light their way

May the footprints that we leave

Lead them to believe

And the lives we live inspire them to obey

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful”

There is eternal importance in one generation learning from the generations that have gone before them. “He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the​ ​works of God, but keep his commandments;” (5-7)

We who go before, who have walked imperfectly with God, realize later in life how much He has indeed orchestrated. We want to see our children and our children’s children set their hope in God and choose​ ​to obey Him.

Notice the two powerful words coming from the mouth of the psalmist: hope in God and keep His commandments. These two joyous expectations that ought to fill the heart and mind of every grandparent are rooted in the bridge statement between them, “not forget the works of God.”

Everything around them is conspiring to lead them to forget. The frenetic world they live in conspires to fill their minds with so much noise that the still small voice of God should be drowned out. The marketing world that has attached itself to everything that they touch, conspires to convince them that there is joy in possession. So, do all you must to posses as much as you can.

The educational world conspires to convince them that if there is any truth, it is found in scientific knowledge alone. Too often todays’ knowledge leaves no room for God, and little room for the value of history. You are writing your own personal history, they are told. So write it as YOU want.

The political world is paralyzed at best, fueled by corrupt people at worst. They conspire to convince younger generations of the bliss of ignorance. They promise roses, but fail ever to mention the thorns.

And in the face of all of this new reality, the church appears impotent to do exactly what the Psalmist has advised. “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” (78:4). For God wants that His​ ​children, “should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;”

We would like to believe that if we can just get our kids to “like” church, they would be safe. But today’s churches all too often, “are nothing more than a loosely bound assembly of individuals committed to finding their own “truth,” (and) are no longer the church in any meaningful sense” (Excerpt From The​ ​Benedict Option Rod Dreher)

Where do we turn? We turn back to the Psalmist. The role of the church ought to be to mobilize Christ’s people into deepening walks with Him, and greater obedience. In these we have the genius of God’s daily supply for increasing righteousness. And where there is righteousness there is life, there is​ ​wholeness, their health, there is joy, and there is eternal assurance.

The role of parent and grandparent is remembering. Parents bear the primary responsibility for the role of remembering in their children. Administered correctly, even when we are often imperfect, and into obedient hearts, there is the exciting expectation of hope, continued remembrance and obedience.

But, parents do not stand-alone. Christian grandparents have a significant role as well. One hopes that the two roles can be played in concert. For this synchronized effort can build a strong context of safety​ ​for the children where the still small voice of God can be nurtured, in spite of and in the face of the deadening noise around them.

I am convinced that children can learn younger, the role of spiritual discipline in their lives. I am convinced that as they build these spiritual disciplines, they will grow “early onset” obedience to what God says to them through His word. They will make better decisions about the outcomes of their lives.

As a result, they will put God, His calling and His assets at the top of their lives. They will make better decisions about education, vocation, marriage, and spending their assets.

They will stand stronger against the overwhelming tides that conspire against them.

Down the corridor of biblical and Christian history we are amazed to see young people growing deep lives of walking with God and serving Him. David was a teenager when God first called him as a shepherd boy. Timothy was a teenager when Paul chose him. Amy Carmichael was 25 when she applied to go to China.

God can do the work of calling on His own. But how often have grandparents been an inspiration to their younger generations? How often have they had the opportunity to help set an environment where​ ​their grandchildren can draw from their experience and find both encouragement and modeling for walking with God in obedience?

They have a tremendous opportunity to model God’s ideal.

Our culture breeds confusion. Not only between male and female, but also equally in what it means to be a woman or a man. Radical feminist ideas have bled even into the church. Hostility has been planted as a result in the marital relationship.

Who is a man? Who is a woman? And equally important, what are they together? Confuse, inflame, or distort the nature and role of either and the full meaning and blessing of together is all but lost.

Lose this essence and the family can become a hostile place for children, rather than the place of safety. Perhaps the most important thing a mother and father, AND a grandfather and​ ​grandmother, give to their children is a healthy marriage, founded upon God’s wonderful provision.


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