Leading Your Grandchild to Christ
- Ruth Graham Contributor, The Grandmother's Bible
- 2008 25 Jul
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Isaiah 52:7
I once heard that the only things we can take to heaven with us are people. And as grandmothers, we play an important role in being certain that the people closest to us—our own family members—will share the glory of eternity in God’s presence. What a beautiful honor and privilege (see Isaiah 52:7)! I know that the task of ensuring our family’s salvation may seem daunting, but it starts with just two responsibilities: First, we need to pray for our grandchildren. Second, we need to set the example of loving and living for Christ so our grandchildren will want to know Jesus for themselves.
My own grandmother
My own grandmother, Virginia Bell, was a wonderful example of a life lived for Christ. She spent her early married years as a medical missionary in China, living out her life in unselfish service to her husband (a busy medical doctor), her family and her church. She didn’t preach or lecture; her spirituality wasn’t forced or put on. I simply watched the way she approached life.
She was a practical, organized woman who was never too busy to be with me or include me in the countless things she did. Her vivid imagination made even mundane chores enjoyable; and when she read to me, she made the characters come alive with an assortment of accents. She instigated wonderful Bible games that taught me Biblical facts I probably would not have learned otherwise. She told bedtime stories with great flair and enthusiasm as she described her years in China with warlords and bandits, letting me share in her adventures.
My role as “Mackie”
My role as grandmother looks quite different from hers. I am a working grandmother who travels a great deal, and when I am home, I have countless projects that demand my attention. But there is no greater joy than to hear my back doorbell ring and hear voices call out, “Mackie, where are you?” from the cherubic faces looking through the door. I love to be imaginative and silly with them.
All my grandchildren love hearing me read. The same stool my grandmother kept full of toys for her visiting grandchildren now resides in my family room. It is full of books for my grandchildren. They open it, looking for just the right book for me to read.
Each summer my grandson comes to spend two weeks with me. Because he is here for an extended time, we have the opportunity to talk about things that are on his mind. He knows that he is loved unconditionally, that he holds a very special place in my heart and that I am pretty much unshockable.
Their avenue to God
What does all this have to do with introducing your grandchild to Jesus? Everything. As grandmothers we build an avenue to share God’s truths as we build nurturing relationships with the younger generation. If we are unavailable, critical, harsh, unpleasant, demanding or unbending, our grandchildren will not be interested in what we have to say. We want to be winsome for Christ.
Children have very open, tender hearts to spiritual truths. Their curiosity opens avenues of conversation that we can turn into opportunities for talking about God’s love. And God has given us an endless resource in nature. As I walk along the beach with my grandchildren searching for shells, observing the shore birds, awaiting the hatching of turtle eggs, we talk about the creativity of God. As we watch the waves roll in, we talk about how the ocean reflects aspects of God’s character: powerful, awesome, faithful, deep. Sunsets or the sun after a storm give rise to discussions about Jesus’ return. In my yard as we look at the beautiful, fragrant lilies, we talk about how God has detailed them as an artist would paint his canvas. I explain to my grandchildren that God has given these things to us for his pleasure and ours.
I have openly made God part of my everyday life. My grandchildren know that God is a priority: They see me reading my Bible each day. They hear me pray with them and for them. They see me living out my faith.
Faith comes easily to a child. While our grandchildren are young, we need to take advantage of the opportunities to teach them about the reality of Christ in our own lives, so they will want to know him in a personal way too. Perhaps through our words and our living example, we will have the enormous privilege of leading them to the Savior! What an honor!
Excerpted with permission from The Grandmother’s Bible (Zondervan, 2008). With a year’s worth of devotions by women such as Ruth Graham, Elisa Morgan, and Elizabeth George, special Saturday and Sunday devotions, and a wealth of articles, prayers, and other features, The Grandmother’s Bible gives guidance and encouragement for today’s active grandmother to instill a legacy of love, acceptance, faith, and character in her grandchildren. To order, click here.
Ruth Graham is an experienced conference speaker and Bible teacher known for her honesty and authenticity as she shares her sometimes painful journey of faith. She is the author of In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart, A Legacy of Love, A Legacy of Faith, and the coauthor of I’m Pregnant…Now What? She has three children and four grandchildren and lives in Virginia.