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The Importance of Grandchildren

Today our eldest daughter Talia gives birth to our third grandchild – a baby girl. The C-section is scheduled for 10 am. Even though it’s still early as I write this, the family text string is abuzz with activity.  It helps that the first two grandsons were such a success. Mars has the ma…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Today our eldest daughter Talia gives birth to our third grandchild – a baby girl. The C-section is scheduled for 10 am. Even though it’s still early as I write this, the family text string is abuzz with activity. 

It helps that the first two grandsons were such a success. Mars has the makings of a young entrepreneur and Remy is precocious in his people skills.

Karen and I love being grandparents. I love taking Mars and Remy on adventurous walks in the woods or playing horsey with them in the house. They constantly delight us with their imagination and new discoveries. 

And as far as I can tell, our experience is not unique. I think we are all hard-wired to one day feel the thrill of the grandparent stage of life. 

Yes, many of us may not have biological children. But the opportunity to have spiritual sons and daughters who we pour into is available to all of us. Paul writes to the new believers in Corinth, “you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.” 1 Cor. 4:15

What Paul means is that he gave those he’s writing to new life in the spirit. He taught them how to begin living an abundant life. And he did so with the expectation that they would impart to others what they had received from him (2 Tim. 2:2).

Having spiritual grandchildren is one of the best things you can do in life. The same deep satisfaction that Karen and I experience in being grandparents is available to all of us. Here are four reasons why:

1. God made us to be fruit-bearers 

Jesus tells us, “I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last…” (John 15:16)

God puts the desire and capacity to bear fruit in our DNA. Too many Christians never move past the early stages of their faith into a space where they are walking out their destiny as fruit-bearers. 

When you find yourself functioning as you were designed, it is deeply gratifying.

2. They connect us to purpose

We all have a set of values. Those of us who follow Jesus make his values our own – he calls it a “gospel.” We believe that there is a kingdom where a life of love and joy are available to us all.

Jesus has called us to share this free gift with others and to lead them into life in the kingdom. This gives us purpose. 

When you help others to walk in the freedom that Jesus promises and they in turn do the same for others, then you become a spiritual grandparent. When you see your spiritual grandchildren continue that generative process, you see the power of the gospel. You see what it is to partner with God in accomplishing his purpose.

3. They become stewards of our inheritance

We all die and have the opportunity to give away the things that are important to us – to leave an inheritance to others, whether tangible or spiritual. 

What do you value in life? Yes, there’s the stuff that you own. But what values are so important to you that you would die for them? And who are you giving them away to? Do you have a plan?

Grandchildren are the natural stewards of the inheritance that we leave. They are the ones who will carry it forward into the future after we are gone.

4. They become our companions

We all need to belong. Over 40% of older people report feeling lonely. They need companions. Someone to share life with. Grandchildren are the perfect antidote to the problem of loneliness.

In Spain, grandparents often walk their grandchildren to school. They teach their grandchildren about life. My mom’s dad taught me to fish. And my dad’s dad taught me to golf. During my time with them, we played card games and they taught me how to live. 

What I didn’t realize at the time is that I was good company for my two granddads. I made each of them smile. Both granddads loved me and knew that I loved them.

If you’re already a grandparent, you are no doubt already convinced about all this. But as a young person, the idea of having grandchildren may seem far off – an abstraction.

There’s a crisis of dropping birthrates in most developed countries. People are not convinced that they should bring life into this troubled world. But my experience runs counter to that trend.

It’s never too early to begin bearing fruit that endures. It’s a wonderful thing to bring life to others and to help them share that life. God designed all of us to enjoy the thrill of grandchildren. 

Comments (10)

  • I said a prayer for Talia and family this morning and will continue to be thinking and praying for her throughout the morning. Mars and Remy will be great big brothers!

  • Prayers to all of you! How wonderful and exciting. Please pray for our family as we have a grand daughter who I have only seen twice, my husband once, and our son, her father, never. It is a pain that is haunting and palpable…we have been blocked from contact…it is complicated, as many human situations are, but we pray for reconciliation one day.

  • Congratulations to the whole family. I pray all goes well with the birth today. Robert and I love being grandparents. We have enjoyed 10 years of living close to grandkids here in Peru and thoroughly enjoyed the precious time with them. They are all you have described. Our daughter, son-in-law and 3 grandkids have just moved to Colorado and we have been both happy for them and sad for the new distance between us. This past week the folks at our church let us know that they are our children and grandchildren. Knowing that we were sad, they made sure we knew they loved us and are happy that we are still with them. It was a precious time. They even decorated the church with balloons and shared sandwiches and chocolate cake together after the service as a surprise for us. I had thought about them as our spiritual children and grandchildren, but they on their own expressed it as well and here you, too, have encouraged us in that. Enjoy your new precious little bundle.

  • Thanks. It is complicated and our son was definitely used for “his contribution” which took two to tango…Eden is 3, and my daughter found a back door way into mama’s facebook account so occasionally we are able to see a photo. She looks a lot like her dad, our son. Who is in healing recovery, so many prayers there answered. It stinks. Thanks.

  • I’m sorry to hear that they moved away, Becky. But that’s a great story about how the people in your church came around you and affirmed your role in their lives. You have given your lives to a good purpose and have given life to many who bless your name.

  • Blessings dear friend. My prayers just were offered for your burgeoning brood with the hope of special blessings. With four grandsons we know the joys of this part of life’s journey. Cohen. Atticus. Noble. Gus. Strong names. Robust futures as they follow Jesus. I’m the eldest grandson of 44 on the maternal side. Many quivers are filled with promise in my family. Thankful for yours. We are overdo to catch up and I’ll make a visit to Gainesville when your schedule opens. Love you brother.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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