Cindy and I have been blessed over the past six years in that we have been able to spend a lot of time with our grand children. In fact, this past weekend we baby-sat for three of them, ages 2, 3 and 6; and even more exciting, it included two overnights. Believe me; we were exhausted by the time the last one left, Sunday afternoon. Sure, there were a few dust ups but all in all, a good time was had by all. I know that I have always been concerned about being a good example for my own three children as they were growing-up and even more so today, but when it’s your grandchildren, your concern for them and their well-being, is different. There seems to be something special between the generations, a cross between a parent/child relationship and a best friend. It’s really quite unique and wonderful.
The one thing that I pray most about for them is that they might come to know Christ in the same way I do. It’s not just because I’m concerned about their “immortal soul”, but I know that the secret of true happiness, peace and satisfaction in this life can only be fully experienced and enjoyed when a relationship with Christ has been forged. Therefore, it’s my responsibility to make sure, as they grow to the age of accountability, that they see God in Christ as He really is and encourage them to trust in Him completely.
But how far should I be willing to go to accomplish that end, even though I know that it is the work of the Spirit and not my own efforts that will bring it about? Will I be willing to risk my relationship with them in the process? What if they reject God’s free gift of grace and me in the process? Jesus warns us of just such a possibility when he quoted the prophet Micah saying, “A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household (Matthew 10:36).” If I truly understand what is at stake, then I should be willing to risk it all, certainly our Lord did when He gave His all for us on the cross, “while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8).”
My strategy with the grandchildren is to put God in the context of everyday life, in fact I’ll give you an example from this past weekend. Jack (the 6-year-old) and I were on our way to the store and the subject of “rules” came up, I’m sure because I had just reminded him of one. I asked him, “Who do you think makes the rules?” He thought for a minute and answered me with a question, “Is it the government?” I told him no, but to try again and then he said, “My mom and dad, I guess.” I responded saying, “They don’t make the rules but only tell you and your sister what they are.” I then went on to tell him that God makes the rules and it is our job is to remind each other of them and that it is how we show our love for each other and demonstrate that we really care about their well-being. I continued, telling him that God’s rules are written down for us in the bible and he immediately responded, “Not all of them are in the bible.” I asked him which one and he said, “The one that says I have to take my vitamin everyday.” I explained that the bible doesn’t say that you must take a daily vitamin but it does say that you need take good care of your body because it is where the Spirit of God lives. He told me he understood, but then said, “Grandpa, you don’t always follow all the rules!” I agreed with him and said, “You’re right Jack and that’s why you have to remind me…that is if you love me.” He smiled and replied, “You bet I will!”
God tells us in Isaiah 29:24 that, “Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding and those who complain will accept instruction.” This describes all of us at times and because God’s Spirit dwells in us and although we might resist God’s instruction and claim we don’t understand, the fact is that we really do. All we need is to be reminded by someone who loves and cares for us. Our job doesn’t end when we present the Gospel and hear it accepted. If we truly love and care for someone, we will always be available to listen in love, not judgment and provide them a gentle reminder of the truth found in God’s word.
Tool #267 Listen in love, be slow to anger and quick to forgive.