A gray-haired woman in her 70s walked down the aisle of a plane, stopped by an empty seat and asked the person sitting next do it, “Excuse me, do you have any grandchildren?” When the very surprised person responded, “Yes, I do!” the woman moved on down the aisle. Asking the same question, the person next to the empty seat stammered, “No, but we wish we did.” Sitting down the woman said, “Wonderful! Now I will tell you about mine!”
That’s the way grandparents are, but in a disconnected world where families are often fragmented and separated by distance, it’s getting harder and harder for a grandparent to interface with grandchildren. You can do it, however, and in the next three minutes I’ll give you six ways to impact your children’s children.
Guideline 1: Make your life a living testimony of God’s grace. For years on my television program I would ask a final question, “How would you like to be remembered after you are gone?” Answers were diverse but there is one thing for sure: you will be remembered one way or another. My grandfather was stingy and frugal but grandmother was generous. Her oatmeal cookies and fried chicken were world-class. When I studied in the university she would write, including some money that grandfather never knew about. How will you be remembered?
Guideline 2: Be involved in their lives. Here’s a seldom considered scientific fact: phone lines run both ways. Older folks often sit by the phone waiting for it to ring, moaning and complaining that nobody calls. Hey, friend, why not call or text your kids or grandkids every week? If you have several grandchildren, program their telephone numbers on your phone and ask, “How are you doing? Any special needs I can help with? What’s going on in your life?” Don’t think you are bothering them; you’re keeping a relationship alive.
Guideline 3: Take inventory of the spiritual heritage you are leaving behind. My father-in-law, Guy Duffield, was one of the godliest men I ever knew. On the night God took him home, he asked me to read Psalm 71, which says, “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.” “Have I done that, Harold?” he asked. If anyone ever did, he had done just that.
Guideline 4: Record your testimony of the redeeming grace of God. Write letters, even ones for your unborn grandchildren, video or record your life story, tell future generations what God has done in your life. Tell your story. Yes, they want to know.
Guideline 5: Surround your grandchildren with a fence of prayer. What you cannot do, God can and will. Trust Him. At times grandkids ignore your advice but they cannot escape your prayers. Yes, you can make a difference by praying.
Guideline 6: Set your house in order. And what does that mean? Time allows only two thoughts: First, make peace with your enemies. Don’t carry to your grave bitterness, harsh thoughts, and angry memories. Forgive.
An old gentleman 90 years old was told, “I hear you have no enemies at all.” “Yes, that’s right.” “And what’s your secret?” “I outlived them all,” he said. In reality few people do. Bitterness kills, but forgiveness neutralizes.
Then this final thought: “Do your giving while you are living so you are knowing where it’s going.” Dig a well for a village in Africa. Support an orphan in Russia. Send a grandchild to Bible School. Help your church; establish a foundation that will use your money wisely; but don’t leave your estate to that greedy grand nephew who calls only to find out how soon the undertaker may come for you. Be a grandparent who makes a difference. You can. Get started today.
Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 6:1-8
Text: The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call. Acts 2:39
GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – March 24, 2017