Ed, my neighbor next door, was filling up his car’s gas tank when I stopped for gas yesterday. Naturally, I had to share with him the good news that our seventh grandchild was born into our family on Saturday. Ed sees having a baby as too costly these days. Nothing sets Ed off more than the thought of needing to spend money. He estimated a person would need the wages of seven jobs to pay for diapers, formula and baby food these days. Ed also likes to relate why he doesn’t like babies.
According to Ed, little babies manipulate whole households with their smiles and cries, terrorize with their dirty diapers, never sleep when everyone else is sleeping, and spit up second hand milk onto any innocent person who is holding them. Babies are as unpredictable as a mule – one minute they are fine and the next one they are crying so loud the Lord up in heaven can hear them. You can’t train them. They outmaneuver you every day, seven days a week. By the time they are about a year old, they run the house like an absolute dictator.
“Of course, my grandchildren as babies were considerably better than the regular run of babies. It has to do with their grandfather,” Ed told me with conviction.
The Bible speaks of being a grandparent this way: “Children’s children are a crown to the aged. What we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us we will not hide from their children. We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds God has done.”
In the Old Testament, parents and grandparents have the serious responsibility of teaching the Ten Commandments to the next generations. The Bible says it this way: “Impress them (the commandments) on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
In the New Testament, we are called as grandparents to act in love or imitate the love God has given to us in Christ. We are instructed, “Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments this way: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.”
In a family, husbands and wives are to love each other, children are to obey their parents, and parents are to bring their children up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Parents are not to exasperate their children and all the members of a family are to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God has given us forgiveness.
Ed believes the future will be grim for the next generation where the problems of today will only become more disastrous for everyone. I challenge him that the future will be fantastic if we start acting in love today. God has told us to act in love. Love by putting God first, by honoring His name, and by keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. Love others by honoring our parents, refusing to hate, abstaining from adultery and theft, refusing to slander others, and not coveting anything others have. Love of God and others is the hope of all generations.