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On Becoming a Grandfather

There are several mile markers that adorn the highway of life and I have passed too many of them already. I have passed by high school, college, marriage and kids. I even went to seminary and followed God’s call into ministry. A strange thing happened to me, though, while I was busy looking the other way: I became a grandfather. When I think of ‘grandfather’ I think of my grandpa. I can’t be that old nor that near the end of the race, can I? Life flies by when you are busy doing other things. Can any of you relate?

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates is said to have uttered those words at his trial for corrupting the youth of Athens with his ideas. He choose death over exile. It is better still to take stock of your life while living it. How have we invested the years? What have we put our limited time and undivided attention toward? Personally, I am really good at achieving short terms goals and really bad at conquering my long term aspirations. Long terms targets seem so distant that they never make my immediate priority list. I did not take my children through that homeschool book as I intended. I did not teach my children all I thought that I needed to teach them. I have not written those two books that have danced inside my mind for decades. I live day to day - or better, as a pastor, week to week. I never seem to chip away at my life goals, only my weekly put-out-the-fire lists. Now, I am a grandpa and the clock is still, relentlessly, ticking away.

Have I chosen well? Have I invested in the things that matter most? I have long held the conviction that only two things last forever - the Word of God and other people. Nations will fall; libraries will grow old and tired, and stadiums will crumble to the dust; but the Word of God and those made in His image will last forever.

Perhaps this is simply a heady excuse to spend more time with my grandchildren but it is a good one. What little wisdom I may possess, and what lessons I have learned from hard experience, I want to pour into the next generation. My shoulders may not be very far off the ground, but I want my children and grandchildren, both physical and spiritual, to stand on them and live better. I want them to taste and see that the Lord is good. I want them to savor the grace of God. I want them to really know the transforming love of God in Christ.

Where you spend your time is how you prepare for eternity. “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8). There are older Christians that have wisdom to offer to you. Ask them for it. There are younger Christians who would benefit from your time and attention in discipling them in the things of God. Give it to them (Titus 2:1-10).

So, examine your life, and invest in life - the life of God in the souls of men. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4). Grandparents of the world, rise up! You can reach those long term goals by cradling those cubby little hands.

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