I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching a special "Grandparent's Seminar" at our local church this past month. It has been a blessing, and a challenge, to study once again what God's Word has to say about being an influential grandparent. Our theme verse is Proverbs 17:6, "Children's children are the crown of old age". A crown is an emblem of honor, and in Bible times, crowns were given to those who excelled in the Greek games as REWARDS. Truly, our grandchildren are precious rewards from the Lord in the later years of our lives.
In the very first session of our 4-week seminar, I used the example of Jacob as a model of interacting with our grandkids. In Gen. 48, we read of how Jacob, when he was dying, called for Joseph and Joseph's two sons (Manasseh and Ephraim) to come to his bedside for some final, parting words of counsel. There are several practical lessons we can learn from this text:
FIRST, share your personal testimony with them, specifically how good the Lord has been to you! In verses 3 and 16, Jacob explained to his grandchildren how God had changed his life, and in verse 15 he told them how God had supplied his needs. It is crucial for us to share with our grandchildren how God has blessed us all throughout the course of our lives.
SECOND, pass on God’s Promises to them. In verse 4, Jacob informed his grandchildren of the promises contained in the Abrahamic Covenant, and how those promises had been passed down to his father Isaac, and then down to him (Jacob). Now it is his turn to pass on the promises of God to his son (Joseph) and to his grandsons (Manasseh and Ephraim). Our job as grandparents is the pass on a legacy of faith to the next generations.
THIRD, teach them about your family history.Jacob tells the story about how his wife Rachel died along the roadside in their journey to Israel, and how she was buried in Bethlehem. He wanted his grandson's to know about their grandmother. Family history is important. Tell your grandkids your stories; they need to have a sense of their family heritage.
FOURTH, show affection to them. Jacob leaned down and hugged and kissed his two grandsons in what must have been an emotional parting. Nothing is more important than letting your grandchildren know how much you love them. A good hug goes a long way in communicating this.
FIFTH, say positive, encouraging words to them. Jacob gives a blessing to his grandsons and has a lot of positive things to say about their future. As a grandparent, be a source of complements and encouragements to your grandchildren. In today's world, they need a lot of positive input.
THESE ARE WONDERFUL LESSONS FOR ALL OF US AS GRANDPARENTS.