You can look at becoming a grandparent in two ways: you are getting old, or you are about to be rejuvenated! The world tells us that becoming a grandparent has all of the perks of being a parent without all of the responsibilities! However, the Bible speaks of grandparents as being very significant authority figures in the family. What are the biblical responsibilities of the grandparent?
Grandparents are to pronounce blessings over their grandchildren. Our words affect our family far more than we understand. As grandparents we speak good things into the lives of our family. My grandmother used to write me a birthday letter every year. How I treasured these gifts! In them, she would encourage me to be all that God has called me to be. She spoke to the greatness inside of me, ensuring me that she believed in me. A biblical example of the grandparent’s blessing is found when Israel met Joseph’s children. “They are the sons God has given me here,” Joseph said to his father. Then Israel said, “Bring them to me so I may bless them” (Genesis 48:9).
Grandparents are to fear the Lord. Walking out the fear of the Lord before your family is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. “But from everlasting to everlasting, the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children” (Psalms 103:17). According to this scripture God loves those who fear Him and he promises righteousness to your grandchildren when you fear Him. You are a trailblazer of faith in your family; the forerunner of a generation ready to serve Him. In a world that over-casualizes everything, it is important that we teach our families to respect and honor the people and things we are commanded to treat in this manner.
Grandparents are to speak of God’s goodness to their grandchildren. It is good for our children to hear about examples of God’s faithfulness from someone other than their parents. As grandparents, you have the opportunity to make God “real” to your family by sharing your experiences as a Believer. After all, faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17). You build up faith in the next generation when they hear of your stories of God’s goodness.” One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts” (Psalms 145:4 ). “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them” (Deuteronomy 4:9).
Grandparents are to instruct grandchildren in God’s Word. Scripture tells us that this is why God chose Abraham as our father in the faith. “For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him" (Genesis 18:19). We can be a guide to help our grandchildren to follow a path of discipleship.
Grandparents are to leave an inheritance for their grandchildren. More important than leaving behind finances, you can invest in your grandchildren and they will greatly prosper as a result of your encouragement. Be interested in what they are interested in. Cheer them on in their pursuits. Most importantly give your grandchildren the heritage of a relationship with Jesus. Walk out your walk in front of them. “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous” (Proverbs 13:22).
Next time you are tempted to feel old and worn out, remember that grandchildren are the crown of old age. “Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children” (Proverbs 17:6). Although children are proud of their parents, grandchildren are the reward of the grandparent. Enjoy your reward to the fullest! You have a hand in determining future generations of Christians on the earth!
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra
Rev. Deb Koster