A young boy came home from Sunday school all excited about his new teacher. “What’s her name?” his mom asked. “I don’t know,” replied the little lad, “but I know who she is. She is Jesus’ grandma!” When asked why he thought she was Jesus’ grandma, he excitedly said, “Because she has pictures of Him all over the walls, and she can’t stop talking about Him!”
What a great story about the joy and privilege we grandparents have of telling the Good News of Jesus to our grandkids and to people of all ages! Even if we are not grandparents, we are still empowered by the Spirit to share God’s love and forgiveness in Christ with all people, as the psalmist proclaims, “One generation shall commend your works to another” (Psalm 145:4 ESV).
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Shaping the Culture
If we grandparents and other older adults are not telling the story of Jesus and His love, who is? A friend of mine says, “Whoever tells the stories owns the culture.” In the midst of all of the other stories that seek to grab the attention of young and old alike in this world, we as the Church continue to loudly and boldly proclaim that “He is risen — He is risen indeed!” We go about “Easterizing” people, as His Easter people!
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Let us continue to encourage each other to witness intentionally to our grandchildren. Sing hymns with them, pray with them, help connect each day’s activity with the presence and promise of Christ. Help them see that they are “Jesus with skin on” as they love and forgive their friends and family as well. Perhaps one of the best ways to witness to our own grandchildren is to allow them to see us as sinners who mess things up and make many mistakes, while at the same time showing them that we, too, are forgiven in Christ and become saints in the Lord, just like they are!
Witnessing to Christ in all that we do and say is crucial, and while we are at it, let us also sense the importance of being “with-nesses” to them as well. Spend time with them, play with them, talk with them, do a project with them and, even if they are many miles away, email them, Skype with them, and pray with them over the phone.
The Gift of Listening
One other crucial blessing and gift we can give our grandchildren is the gift of listening. Too often in my life experiences, I have tended to focus on me “telling the story” rather than on encouraging and waiting for them to also tell their story of how the Lord is working in and through them. Help them to verbalize their faith by listening, asking questions, and allowing the Spirit to empower them to share their stories in their ways and in their words.
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Together may people of all ages continue to share the gift of faith in a Lord who loves and forgives people, from generation to generation, as we continue to sing, “Thank the Lord and sing His praise; tell everyone what He has done!”
Come to think of it, in a way we all are Jesus’ grandma!
This article first appeared in the July 2013 issue of Reaching Rural America for Christ, a monthly Enewsletter of LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission. Learn more about RSTM at www.lcms.org/rstm or www.facebook.com/lcmsrstm.
Photo courtesy Raymond Brown via Flickr