by Johnny D. Taylor
"Look, Poppy, I'm a princess!"
Three-year-old Chloe spun in a circle, plastic slippers clacking, red ringlets bouncing, Cinderella smiling from her costume.
"You are a Princess," I replied, "always!"
Ah, they don't call them grandchildren for nothing, and it is both our great joy and duty to do all we can to help them live grand lives.
Of course our grandchildren enjoy overnight stays with "Nana and Poppy," strategically hidden gifts in our living room, and flagging down the ice cream truck, but we also have opportunities to build on the heritage we began with our children. Our future generations will need a grand heritage, and the Kingdom of God demands it.
Just as we have learned by experience the truth of III John 1:4, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth," we are also learning the truth of Proverbs 17:6, "Children's children are the crown of old men."
God says grandchildren are our crowning achievement because they are the living manifestation of all we are and have accomplished, and represent the best that we have successfully instilled in our children.
When our children were born, my wife and I were "newborn parents," with no experience at all. But we worked hard at it, following the Bible as well as we could. Fortunately, our children survived all the "trial and error," and turned out pretty good.
I suppose you could say that our children have acted as a filter, sorting through everything we said and did, and keeping the good stuff. So when I hear my wife's wise words come out of my daughter's mouth, directed at my granddaughter, I know we did something right, something worth passing to the next generation, something on which to build a godly heritage.
And I am crowned.
Passing down the blessing
When my father returned from serving in World War II, he made a conscious decision to be a Christian man, and to have a Christian home. Since I was prayed for and dedicated to the Lord before I was ever conceived, it is no wonder that this year I will celebrate twenty-five years in the Gospel ministry. Neither is it a coincidence that my children all know Christ as Savior, are active in their Church, and are raising my grandchildren in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
God promises that the blessings He gives us in our lives will echo through future generations. Psalm 103:17 says, "But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children."
My parents sowed seeds of faithfulness over fifty years ago, and the harvest of blessing continues to this day. Such is the faithfulness of God, and the power of His Word.
Leaving an Inheritance
Proverbs 13:22 says in part, "A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children." What will I leave behind for those who mean the most to me? Will it be trifles and trinkets for them to squabble over? God forbid.
Each passing year brings a more intense desire to build a worthwhile legacy, a life of God's blessing for my progeny, to the third and fourth generations, and beyond.
But what exactly would I instill in them? What would such a broad blessing look like?
First, that they would learn to love the Lord they God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength (Mark 12:30). If my descendents learn to love God above all, everything else will fall into place.
Second, that they would live extraordinary lives to the glory of Jesus, the King. In my family we are all of humble birth, but we are all of noble re-birth. Revelation 1:5-6 says, "…Jesus Christ, …prince of the kings of the earth …hath made us kings." Our Father is High King of Heaven, and that makes nobility and godliness our family tradition.
We can be normal, average, even regular, but we cannot be ordinary. The very blood that runs through our spiritual veins demands that we live lives that are nothing short of extraordinary. Our family tree is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and this is what must give meaning and purpose to the lives of our future generations, just as it has our own.
What you can do
As grandparents we don't just have to sit around hoping that our grandchildren will receive a spiritual inheritance. So what will Nana and Poppy do?
- We will pray for them. God has already proven His faithfulness to answer.
- We will teach them. At every opportunity we will try to take them beyond mere morality, and instill in their hearts and minds a love for God and nobility of character.
- We will model these ideals before them. Like they say, "there's usually more caught than taught."
- We will use our God-given influence with them to keep them going in the right direction. (If it requires ice cream, so be it.)
- We will tell and retell our old family stories from a Christian perspective. Children love to hear those tales because they gain a sense of identity and heritage from them. They need to know that our identity and heritage is all wrapped up in Jesus Christ.
- We will support our children in their parenting. If we want our grandchildren to respect their parents, we must do the same.
- We will treat our children and grandchildren as nobility. If all this is true, if it is real, then we will act like it. They will receive the honor, respect and the responsibilities that are due to children of the King.
- We will live in faith. God has promised that He Himself will be our family inheritance.
Thank God for grandchildren and the joy they bring. The hope of my heart is Psalm 16:5-6, "The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage." May He make us wise and godly grandparents.
"Look Poppy, I'm a princess!"
Sweet Chloe, you are that and more. You are my living legacy, and my crown.