The Spiritual Importance of Grandparents
Grandparents serve an important role in the spiritual upbringing of children. For those of you with grandchildren, be encouraged by this article!
From WORLD. The Misners can hear their grandkids long before they can see them. It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and they’re coming up from the garage two stairs at a time, calling out greetings and the day’s highlights as they go. …
Before long, the cousins are begging to go out on the apartment’s balcony, a make-do playroom hemmed in by metal railings and the limbs of a three-story water oak. There, the four youngsters can look across a bustling Birmingham neighborhood filled with parks, playgrounds, and ice cream parlors they’ve visited with their grandparents. The address is a fairly new one for the Misners, who in 2018 loaded up the contents of their former 4,000-square-foot home and moved to be near their family. It was an intentional—and influential—relocation.
Across the country, some 30 million grandparents profess to be born-again believers, but unlike the Misners, many haven’t considered their potential as spiritual influencers. Even though the word grandparent makes just two appearances in most Bible translations, verses like Deuteronomy 4:9 underscore the importance of the role. Larry Fowler of the Legacy Coalition says a central word in that verse changed the course of his life—the and in “teach your children and your children’s children.”
“Obviously, that’s a command to parents and grandparents alike, but I hadn’t seen my responsibility in Scripture before. I came to understand I have a responsibility before God to do everything I can to influence my grandchildren.”
Much like the Misners, who are in their early 70s, Fowler and his wife pulled up roots in the Chicago area and moved to Southern California to live near a son as he was starting his family. Earlier, they helped when their daughter divorced and became a single mother. “I didn’t want my grandsons to grow up without a godly role model in their lives, so that’s when I began to step it up on a personal level,” Fowler remembers. He believes few Christian grandparents have ever heard a sermon about their spiritual responsibilities. Often the only voice in their ear about what makes a good grandparent is a secular one. “Culture says if you love your grandkids and go to their activities and take care of them once in a while, you’re a good grandparent. But Scripture simply has a higher bar, and the higher bar is that we are still to be involved in the discipleship of the younger generation.”
For the Misners, that involves M&M’s. Their grandchildren have moved back inside where a dispenser sits on a low shelf. The two oldest are debating whether naming the persons of the Trinity earns them five candy-coated rewards or six. “It’s motivating,” Jennifer smiles, noting they’ve learned the Lord’s Prayer and an assortment of verses. …
As the culture increasingly vilifies Christianity, the importance of grandparents passing on their faith is magnified. …
Sometimes, though, a grandparent’s spiritual influence isn’t welcomed. How do you approach family members who have walked away from God? What if a grandchild’s identity is wrapped up in something that is ungodly? “My generation elevates truth really high, so we want to tell them the truth. But I emphasize working on the relationship,” Fowler explains, adding that it’s not the abandonment of truth but rather a strategy of leading with grace. …
Were you encouraged by this article? If so, share it with your friends and family to encourage them!
(Excerpt from WORLD. Photo Credit: Canva)
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