What do you think is the best part of being a grandparent? What’s that well-worn quip? “The best thing about being a grandparent is that you can spoil the grandkids, then send them home to their parents!” Really? That’s it? That’s the best thing about being a grandparent? Hmmm . . . I hope not! Who wants spoiled children running around? There’s got to be something better. So, what is the best part of being a grandparent?
I think for most of us grandparents, our enjoyment level is high. You know, “If I had realized having grandchildren would be this much fun, I would have had them first!” That’s great. My wife and I are enjoying being grandparents, too. Let’s have fun with those grandkids, my friends. Let’s keep taking them out for ice cream, going to the zoo, and reading books together. Let’s build special memories in every way we can.
In the middle of those great activities, however, let’s keep in mind our greatest legacy as grandparents. What I mean is, how much time and effort have we put into trying to understand God’scalling on our lives as grandparents? How proactive have we been in exploring the Bible to find out what he expects of Christian grandparents?
When my wife and I were asked to teach a class on gospel-centered grandparenting at our local church, we were taken a bit by surprise. It’s not that we were against the idea. We just hadn’t given it much thought. We had done a fair amount of teaching on marriage and parenting over the years, but, grandparenting? Whoever heard of a class on grandparenting? No one had ever given us any systematic teaching on how to love and invest in our children’s children. Yet, here we were, at that time the grandparents of six very much-loved grandchildren, sincerely doing the best we knew to prayerfully point them to Christ.
Well, we said yes to the invitation to teach the class. I think we were motivated because we knew we had a lot to learn. And, out of love for our grandparent peers in our church, we wanted to invite them to come along with us on this quest of seeing what ministry God has given us grandparents. So, with about sixty other grandparents walking with us, we began in earnest to search God’s Word for his calling on our lives as grandparents.
One part of God’s Word that we found especially helpful in increasing our understanding level of the ministry of grandparenting was Psalm 145. There we found God calling us to be intentionally engaged in an inter-generational spiritual relay. Are you familiar with this passage?
Go ahead and turn or tap to that psalm right now. Here we see that God wants us to be intentional in passing the baton of faith to the coming generations by intentionally exalting him. We are to engage our grandchildren in faithfully and passionately talking to them about:
- God’s greatness (verses 3-6)
- God’s goodness (verses 8-10)
- God’s sovereignty (verses 11-13a)
- God’s daily provision (verses 13b-17)
- God’s saving grace (verses 18-20)
Spoiling our grandchildren is not the best part of grandparenting. In fact, as enjoyable and commendable as it is to make fun memories with our grandkids, there’s something even better. God has given us grandparents the awesome privilege of helping our grandchildren see the worthiness of God and our own need of the gospel so that we can live in right relationship with him through Jesus Christ—for now and for eternity.
So, as we interact with our grandchildren, whether it’s a face-to-face conversation, a chat over a video call, or through a card, we can intentionally talk to our grandchildren about God, his glory and the delight we can have in him through Christ. By God’s grace, let’s seek to pass the baton of faith to our grandchildren.
“We will not hide them [God’s ways] 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 . . . so that they should set their hope in God” (Psalm 78:4,7 ESV, emphasis mine).
Isn’t that what we want more than anything else for our grandchildren? Now, that’s the best part of being a grandparent!
GRANDPARENTING WITH GRACE: LIVING THE GOSPEL WITH THE NEXT GENERATION
In this practical and biblical resource for grandparents, Larry McCall helps readers confidently carry out their mission of gospel-focused grandparenting. Grandparenting with Grace explores how to build a legacy of a life worth following and how to faithfully pray for grandchildren.