If you have grandchildren, I don’t have to tell you what a delight they can be. It’s the best of both worlds — we get to enjoy them, but then hand them off to their parents when it comes to discipline. What a sweet deal!
While it’s true that we are not primarily responsible for our grandchildren, just last night, I ran across a verse in my Bible reading which caused me to sit up and pay attention.
In Deuteronomy, Moses is leaving final instructions with the Israelites as they prepare to go in and take possession of the land God has promised them. As he reiterates the history of what God has done for them and how unique their relationship is with him, he offers this caution:
“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 (emphasis mine).
Evidently, grandparents aren’t off the hook when it comes to spiritual responsibility.
Two chapters later, Moses articulates the Shema, the basic confession of faith for the Hebrews:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children.” — Deuteronomy 6:4-7
This mandate for parents was our theme while raising our children. Now I have the same privilege as a grandparent — the privilege of teaching the things of God to the next generation.
How do we do this?
Keep reading the Shema, and you’ll see instructions to talk about the principles of God when you sit at home or walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
We’re to write God’s law like symbols on our hands, foreheads, door frames and gates.
In other words:
Weave God-talk into the rhythms of every day. Make him the center of your thoughts and actions.
Make God the core of everything, and teach your children’s children to do the same.
A few practical examples:
- Take your grandchild out in nature. Go to the park or a patch of woods or a duck pond, or just step outside together to witness a beautiful sunset. Point out the beauty of nature and say, “Didn’t God create a lovely world? I’m sure thankful to him for this!”
- Pray in the moment. If your grandson skins his knee, don’t just cover his boo-boo with a bandaid — cover him in prayer, too. Teach him that no request is too small for God.
- Share your love for God’s Word. Read your grandchildren Bible stories and talk about the Bible. Model how you apply it to daily life. Be an encouraging audience for them when they recite Scripture verses.
Those are just a few ideas to get started. The point is to be intentional about helping instill faith in Christ in your grandson or granddaughter.
I plan to go right on cuddling my grandkids and laughing at their antics and adoring them. I also want to keep in mind my high calling and privilege — to pass on faith to my children’s children.
How are you passing on your faith to the next generation?