Exodus 20: 12
2 Timothy 1:3-13
Luke 1: 17
Penny has done some interviewing this morning. Thank you for your responses!
I’d like to speak to grandparents, or at least to those of us who are grandparent figures – older.
Paul speaks to Timothy and says, 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.
Three generations of belief: grandmother Lois, mother Eunice and son Timothy; an unbroken chain of faith.
That is not common today but if it is, it is a wonderful thing; passing the faith on to each generation.
For many today, the faith has skipped a generation. The way to determine this is to ask yourself, whether your children go to church regularly or not. Regular church attendance is the only objective measure of faith.
Sometimes we like to bluff ourselves that our children are believers because we associate belief with intellectual assent or with having been baptised or with a Sunday School background. Genuine belief results in action, and that action is not an upright life. Anyone can be an upright citizen, even an exemplary citizen, for all sorts of reasons. Belief that is grounded in grace (the unmerited favour of Christ) results in definite action that builds the Body of Christ. And body parts are joined and functioning within the body, not doing their own thing to one side.
So as grandparents, we have a vital role to play because sometimes we are the only Christ a modern child will ever encounter. That is a startling thing and lays upon us an awful responsibility.
If we are to kindle the faith in our grandchildren, there are three things I’d like to suggest we do
- Tell the Christian story
- Be an example of Christlike love and holiness
- Pray, pray, pray
We may be the only source of the Christian story our grandchildren come across. Bible stories, but especially the Gospel story, are vital things to keep before our grandchildren.
We have to be alert too. Many years ago we were on holiday at the beach and I was reading the story of Zaccheus to my son. He then said to me, “I’d like to do that.” I replied, “Do what?” He said, “Invite Jesus into my life.” “Oh!” I said, “Okay!” and we prayed a prayer to that effect.
Keeping the presence of God before our grandchildren in everyday matters is important. It’s the only way they’ll come to appreciate that God is real and really with them.
Secondly, being a consistent example of Christian love and right living is vital. Grandchildren need to see that we are genuine and that the values of Christ shine through in our lives.
That means a life of sacrifice in many respects. It also means the joy of play, of time spent caring for them and of their seeing you put God first in your life. Children are great sniffers out of hypocrisy and if we push Christ at them without living Christ before them, at best we create superficial religiosity that is thrown off like an embarrassing garment as soon as teenage years appear.
Thirdly we need to pray. Prayer is a powerful instrument in the hands of a faithful Christian. Sometimes it makes the difference between faith and no faith, between life and death.
Be very careful of the influence secularism has upon you. When we subtly allow secular perspectives to influence our thinking, we factor God out of the equation. Children can get smart secular thinking anywhere. You and I, as ambassadors for Christ, are primarily called to be the conveyors of faith.
A strong prayer life, along with prayer for the salvation of our grandchildren, will make a world of difference. But like all things: we can only give what we have.
As grandparent figures we are hugely privileged, and with all privilege comes responsibility. Ours is to keep Christ and all that Christ stands for before them.
May God bless all of us who are grandparent figures in this amazing ministry.