The role of grandparents in our lives

The role of grandparents in our lives

My wife and I are very proud grandparents of six grandchildren and one on the way that is due in November. We have noticed that our fellow grandparents seem to say that once you have grandchildren, it’s time to take it easy and enjoy spoiling them. We both have recognized, however, that this is not what Jesus is calling us to do. The Bible gently, yet firmly, reminds us that grandparents are called to a greater level of influence. Concerning the laws and ways of the Lord God tells us to… “Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (Deuteronomy 4:9). Know that if you are a grandparent, you are important to your grandchildren and that you are in a unique position of influence. You can build and grow relationships with them and help them to know the ways of the Lord.  

My wife and I chose to live and do ministry in this area because God called us to Chapel Hill but also because our three daughters and grandchildren all live in Tacoma and Maple Valley, Washington. Some of our fellow grandparents, however, have the heartbreak of being apart from their grandchildren for long periods of time. Maybe that is you. Perhaps your grandkids live far away, or maybe you have a strained relationship that has created the sense of separation. In either case, there are some great ideas on how to grow and keep relationships with grandchildren strong. Have you heard the old saying, “Big doors turn on little hinges?” Indeed, our seemingly small, little-noticed choices can have huge—even eternal—consequences. Who knows where my siblings and cousins would be today if my grandparents had not done a lot of little things to keep up a relationship with us. One little yet influential thing that all four of my grandparents did was faithfully attend weekly worship. They left a legacy of faith in Jesus for all of us to see.  

If you are a grandparent, what about your legacy? What will your grandchildren and great-grandchildren say about you 50 or 100 years from now? You may never be close to them, and maybe they won’t be able to recall your first name years from now, but they will stand in the shade of the trees you plant. You have no idea how much influence your life will have on future generations. 

God in his Word says,  

“’…this is my covenant with them,’ says the Lord: ‘My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,’ says the Lord, ‘from this time forth and forevermore’” (Isaiah 59:21). 

Yet the opposite is true also. Our poor decisions and our sinful behaviors can negatively impact generations to come. Exodus 20:5 says, “…for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me.” 

I hope one day, in heaven, my grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren will greet me. My grandchildren call me Papa. Next to hearing the Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” I look forward to a time in eternity hearing my descendants say, “Thanks, Papa, for helping to pave the way for us to have eternal life. We are here partly because you hung in there when it wasn’t always easy or popular. We’re eager to get to know you better now that we’ve got eternity together. Let’s all worship Jesus together!”  

If you are a grandparent who wants to learn ways that you can leave a legacy of faith, join us for the Legacy Grandparenting Summit Saturday, October 21, 9:00 am–4:30 pm in the Gathering Place at Chapel Hill. Register here today.  

Paul Hargreaves 
Senior Director of Family Ministries