My baby girl, Joy, just had a baby girl, Davy Joy. Davy was born this morning around 6 am and I am exhausted. Just kidding. I was home sleeping, but Gloria was in the delivery room. My congratulations to Joy and Seth (and to the grandparents Rumsey) on this life-changing event. Our lives will never be the same.
There is a fresh sense of excitement when each of your grandchildren are born (this is number six for us). There is also a growing sense of responsibility about being a grandparent. This responsibility goes beyond annoying your kids by spoiling theirs and setting up a 529 savings plan for the grand-kids college. Our greatest responsibility is to remind and embody God’s love and faithfulness; that it goes beyond their parents and has come down to them from generations before.
The Psalms are filled with what could be called a job description for grandparents:
“He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God…” (Psalm 78:7).
“But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise” (Psalm 79:13).
“So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, and your power to all those to come” (Psalm 71:18).
“One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4).
Praying for our grandchildren is essential, but the Psalmist also implores us to teach, to recount God’s praise, to proclaim His power, and to proclaim His mighty acts to them. We can do this in stories from the Bible and in stories about God’s faithfulness in our lives. We grandparents can add depth and authenticity to the voice of mom and dad because we’ve just been around longer and we don’t really care about being cool.
We are there to make sure that in the busy-ness of life with all of its distractions, no one in the tribe forgets God. We form the bridge that connects what mom and dad are saying about God to what the generations before have said. We can also be an encouragement to our children in prayer and by reminding them that the baton will soon be passed to them as the next generation of ancients “who set their hope in God.”
Rise up, O grandparents! There is no retirement from the responsibility of making a difference in the generations to come, for the glory of God.