WATERFORD, MI – The Lord in His wisdom and grace gave Adam a free will. And every one of his descendants has the same gift. Throughout the day we are constantly making choices, some simple and some very important.
Being a “Great” Grandfather is a matter of choice
I am going to suggest some very important choices in seeking to be a Great Grandfather.
You have to start right to end right. The most important choice you will ever make is to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. This decision will influence every other choice you make during your whole life, including your preparation for being a Great Grandfather. Matt. 6:33
Your second most important choice is your mate for life. I was blessed of the Lord that just as I was starting to date, I committed my life to Christ. My pastor shared in a sermon, “God gives the best to those who leave the choice to Him. And it worked, in three months Kay and I will celebrate our 60th anniversary. Proverbs 18:22, Ephesians 5:25
As you grow you find that you constantly have to choose priorities in your life. Your first priority must always be to put the Lord first. Seek and follow His will daily. Prov. 3:5-6. Your second priority must be to your family. Many have placed their priority on their ministry and lost their families. This is tragic. Paul in I Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6; and Ephesians 5:25, 6:6:4 expresses that a prerequisite for ministry is to love and be faithful to your wife and minister to your children. And this is accelerated when grandchildren come into your life.
You make a choice concerning your role as a grandfather. I read a quote from a book written by Steve Farrar, “Do you have a one-hundred year vision of anchoring your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in Christ?” Wow! What a challenge! Especially for me since I have children, grandchildren and great-grand-children living within 40 miles of my house. I had to examine my record.
We have loved them:
Kay and I have made it a priority to pray for them. We have prayed for the Lord’s will in their lives concerning spiritual growth, marriage, vocation, education, health, mission trips, safety, and many other concerns across the years. We have bought children’s Bibles, Christian videos, and devotional books for them. We have sought to model what following Christ is in own lives.
We have made it a priority to be involved in their lives. We have driven all across the country to celebrate birthdays, holidays, weddings, graduations, and special events in their lives. We have taken them with us to Ridgecrest NC and the Great Smokey Mts., Glorieta NM and the Grand Canyon, and of course Bambi Lake. We have visited them in Ohio, Georgia, and Texas as they were growing up.
We have tried to be helpful in finances: buying cars, going on mission trips, educational expenses, gifts, and other opportunities where help was needed. Let me share one example of a great time together. It was in the mid-nineties. I was serving as State Evangelism Director and travelled all over the country. Every time I saw the grandchildren, Erin, the oldest would ask, “Where have you been Pawpaw? I would answer Atlanta, Fort Worth, and Ridgecrest. She then ask, “Did you fly?” I would answer, “Yes”. Then she would say, ”Pawpaw, we never flied”. After several times of repeating those words, I decided to do something about it. I saw an ad in the paper that Northwest Airlines had a special one-way fare from Bishop Airport in Flint to Midway Airport in Chicago for $19.00. I immediately bought 4 tickets. David and the three oldest flew to Chicago, while Kay, Pam, and Caleb rode with me in our van to meet them at the airport. What a glorious time. Erin was still in the air when we met them, explaining how high they were. “We couldn’t see the people or even the houses”, she exclaimed. We stayed a couple of days in a downtown hotel and visited the museums, the aquarium, and many good restaurants. I have visited 28 foreign countries, including a trip around the world. I have been involved in mission trips to Australia, Botswana, South Africa, and the Philippines. I have visited all 50 states, but ask me my most enjoyable trip and I will answer, “It was to Chicago with my grandchildren in 1995.”
Now we have great-grandchildren, three boys and two girls. The last two were twins, a boy and a girl. I want to join my son to give them a legacy of following the Lord. As I questioned other grandfathers I was convicted that I had not done more to prepare my grandchildren. One grandfather writes a letter to one of his grandchildren every week to encourage them. He has six grand-children so each one receives a letter every six weeks. Another grandfather keeps a daily journal, to leave a record of his personal journey with the Lord for his grandchildren. Still another asks each of his grandchildren to spend a day with him every year to just do whatever they want to do. I am sure that if you choose to be a great grandfather the Lord will direct you to be creative in your relationship to your grand children who are already great. I personally have made a commitment to be the grandfather the Lord wants me to be. I remember what Dr. Edman, president of Wheaton College told us 60 years ago, “It’s always too soon to quit.”
All our grandchildren and their families know they are always welcome at Mimi’s and Pawpaw’s house. There will always be love, prayer, a hug, acceptance, encouragement, support, a good story, and something good to eat. I am a Great-grandfather, my goal is to be a Great Grand Father and leave a legacy for the next 100 years. How about you?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jimmy Jones lives in Waterford, Michigan. He is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Trenton, MI, part of the Greater Detroit Association. He was born in Detroit, Michigan and lived there as well as in Garden City and Westland. He was saved during VBS at the Springwells Avenue Baptist Church in 1943 and later baptized at New Hope Baptist in Dearborn. Jimmy accepted the call to preach at First Baptist Church of Wayne, MI before being ordained at First Baptist Church Trenton, MI. Jimmy and Kay were married in the summer of 1957 just before starting seminary. He has been serving the Lord in full time ministry ever since, including positions of leadership at the BSCM, SBC and LifeWay.