Have you ever asked yourself this very important question, “What is the purpose of grandparenting?” I certainly won’t be surprised if your answer is, “No.” It’s not something that is widely talked about, even in our churches.
The sad reality is that research shows only about one in four Christian grandparents have clarity regarding the answer to this question. Consequently, most have adopted culture’s viewpoint of the role. And this has placed many grandparents on the periphery of the family creating a huge disconnect which limits any spiritual impact.
THE BIBLE ON GRANDPARENTING
The Bible provides clear teaching on the roles of husband, wife, parents, and children. Does it not seem likely that we should find the answer to our question in its pages?
Grandparenting was Created by God
Colossians 1:16 states that “all things were created through Him and for Him.” Therefore, we know that grandparenting was created by God and for God. This is a crucial point for us to understand as we consider the question posed at the beginning of this article. Since everything God creates, He creates for a reason, there must be a purpose.
The Purpose of Grandparenting
A search for the word grandparent will not turn up much. The word simply is not found in most translations. However, the Bible is full of grandparent language. Phrases such as son’s son and children’s children are found throughout Scripture and clearly indicate grandparents.
In Proverbs 13:22, we read that grandparents are to leave a heritage to their grandchildren. Deuteronomy 4:9 instructs us to teach “the things that [our] eyes have seen” to our “children’s children.” And Psalm 78:4-8, commands grandparents to “tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done.”
In other words, by God’s design grandparents are teachers, models, cheerleaders, mentors, and shepherds. At times, some are also surrogate parents who fill the gaps when brokenness touches our families.
These verses and others (including Matthew 28:19), clearly indicate that God designed grandparenting for the purpose of discipleship. He gave us our grandchildren so that we can make disciples of all nations.
HOW DO WE FULFILL OUR PURPOSE
Now that we understand our purpose, a new question arises. Just how do we go about the work of discipling our grandchildren?
Let me suggest that this work is best accomplished through the implementation of what I will refer to as the Five Spiritual Disciplines of Grandparenting.
Persevere in Prayer
This is the discipline of intentionally, consistently, and specifically prayer for your grandchildren. Intercessory prayer is modeled in Scripture and is our weapon in the spiritual battle being fought for our grandchildren (Ephesians 6:12-18).
Model the Character of Christ
Discipling our grandchildren calls us to be role models. We can best do this by living according to biblical principles and daily displaying the fruit of the Spirit.
One of our jobs as grandparents is to establish and carry out traditions that reinforce a strong sense of identity for our grandchildren. This task, of course, requires that we know the difference between a tradition and a ritual.
Share Your God-stories
Several of the passages of Scripture that we looked at earlier instructed us to teach and/or tell our grandchildren various specific things. One critical aspect of discipling our grandchildren is to share our God-stories with them. This includes the Good News of the Gospel, our family heritage, our salvation stories, and our faith journey.
When we speak blessings into the lives of our grandchildren, we serve as a conduit through which God’s love and grace can flow. Genuine words of encouragement, affirmation, and blessing declare the truth of their value and God’s purpose for their lives.
“WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF GRANDPARENTING?”
I pray that after our brief look into what Scripture has to say that you now have clarity regarding the answer. You, precious grandparent, have been given a God-ordained role in the church and home. It is a precious and valuable role that is not interchangeable with any other member. And it is one that is designed to make a spiritual impact on your grandchildren.