The U.S. sets aside the first Sunday after Labor Day to honor grandparents — Grandparent’s Day. I have very few memories of my own grandparents as they all passed on when I was very young but one thing I do remember is that they were people to be respected in a special way. And, though I didn’t directly benefit from their input into my life, I have been indirectly affected because of their influence on my parents . . . the legacy my grandparents passed on to my parents.
The legacy of grandparents can be for eternal good as seen in the example of Timothy whose mother and grandmother passed on their faith by rooting him in God’s Word (2 Tim. 1:5; 3:14-17).
“But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children …” (Ps. 103:17)
This legacy can also have a negative impact as the effects of an unbelieving or hardened heart and a life of sin spills over in familial dysfunction for years to come.
“The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, … maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” (Ex. 34:6-7)
When you consider the potential influence of grandparents on children now and in their futures, we must ask what role the church should have.
- Is your church building up, equipping, and encouraging them to leave a positive legacy? (classes, special speakers, reading material, etc.)
- Is your church providing opportunity for the younger generation to learn from them? (giving them opportunity to share in the service, pulling on their wisdom through teaching and mentoring the younger generation, interviewing them, including their stories in newsletters or bulletin inserts, etc.)
- Is your church honoring them in a special way? (verbal recognition, small gifts, praying for them, making a display to recognize them, a special luncheon, having grandchildren make a card or craft to give to them, asking grandchildren to testify to how God has used their grandparents in their lives, etc.)
And, for those who are grandparents:
- Are you taking in nurture for your soul, growing in your walk with the Lord, so you have something of eternal worth to pass on?
- Are you willing to invest into the lives of the younger generation in strategic ways?
- Are you someone your children and grandchildren are pleased to honor, not just because a special day is set aside to celebrate grandparents, but because they are truly blessed through you?