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The Importance of Grandchildren

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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

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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. 

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