Gami and Bumpa
GRANDCHILDREN…are a joy. We have five and they are the greatest. They are sorta like a ‘do over’ in golf. You get a second chance in getting it right. Most of us are under such stress raising our children that we have little time to truly enjoy the privilege. Grandchildren are different—you get to spoil and don’t have to discipline! So many expressions I have heard since we had our first one, Luke. “If I had known it was going to be this much fun, I would’ve had them first.”
I have never known a grandparent who would trade theirs for yours. Rarely can they do anything wrong in your eyes. Joanne and I are Gami and Bumpa. And when I hear them call me by that name, if they need me, I drop everything and come a’running. We make it a point to never miss any of their events where possible. We, like you, are their biggest cheerleaders. That’s just who we are. Extended families are very important to all children. Provides a sense of belonging, of being loved unconditionally. Spending time with them for whatever reason is always special. It’s hard to explain. God wired us that way, to be relational, like the Trinity.
It is rewarding to be able to teach them things of any nature that you have learned over the years. A smart phone may tell them a lot of ‘information’, but it can never replace the experiences you can share. Also, it is a privilege to be available for the parents, assisting them where we are needed. As I was focusing on this subject, I was reminded of Psalm 128.5,6 NKJV that says; “The Lord bless you out of Zion, and may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Yes, may you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!” God knows just how special that is.
What an exceedingly great blessing it is to know your children and grandchildren are walking with the Lord. I even had the privilege of praying with our eleven year-old grandson as he trusted Christ about six months ago. No greater joy! That reminded me of Psalm 78.1-8 where God instructs us to teach our families the ways of the Lord, as revealed in the scriptures. It addresses four generations. I challenge you to read it.
But then it hit me—God has no grandchildren! ‘What are you saying, Bill?’ He doesn’t, only children! Everyone who receives salvation is his child. In sharing the gospel with non-believers over the years, many will say they are a Christian, using their parents’ and grandparents’ faith as theirs. I even had a man tell me he was sure he would go to heaven when he died because his mother sang in the choir. Honestly! Several years ago I read Catherine Marshall’s book; Beyond Ourselves. She said that because of the strong spiritual heritage she had been born into, she was resting on that for salvation. Through a set of circumstances, she came to realize, ‘God has no grandchildren’. She had to trust Christ as her personal Savior, becoming a child of God. “He came to his own, and his own did not receive Him. But his many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (Jn. 1.11,12 NKJV). (Underline my emphasis)
Lead your children
Dads, parents, the most over-arching privilege and responsibility you have been given is to be the primary instrument to lead your children to a saving knowledge of Christ. Of course, you lead–he saves! Recently, Dr. Jeff Parker, ROD Ministries, spoke at our Fathers Forum. He shared many tremendous things about going ‘From doom to Dad.’ But the one I heard that really resonated was his role as the messenger of the gospel to his children. It really came home when cancer took his daughter’s life as a mother in her early thirties. She had trusted Christ through her dad at an earlier age. Jeff shared that he was a product of a Christianity that drug him to church but when he got home there was no discussion of the Lord. He said as a father, he wanted to be sure that his children knew the Lord. Don’t you?
By the way, I am praying God will allow us the privilege to see and hold our great grandchildren, to bless them in the name of the Lord.