Granddads…let’s talk! First, if you are a granddad, I encourage you to read this. If you’re not but know one, please pass it on and encourage him to read it.
Have you ever stopped to think why God has allowed you to live this long? Was it to reach the retirement age at your company and get on Social Security? Or maybe it was just to enjoy sleeping late, playing golf, sailing your boat, taking trips around the world and just generally enjoying yourself. Why would you do that? “Well, I worked hard all my life and I deserve it. Isn’t that the American dream? And to be quite frank, nobody seems to really care about me as much as I do.” Is that really what God lengthened your life for?
Do you realize that the next generations could really use your lifetime of wisdom? All those trials and successes, knowledge, failures, experiences; do you really want all of that to go to waste? You have so much to give. What are your gifts, your talents? How are you using them to glorify God and for the good of those he’s placed in your circle of influence? Maybe it is to mentor other men, your sons and daughters, your grandchildren in the areas of your giftedness and experience. Quite frankly, wouldn’t you like to hear “Well done” one day?
Granddads, yes grandparents, you are one of the most valued assets in our society. And yet the majority does not see themselves that way. It’s as if we’ve given everything we can give and now we just fade away. Where in scripture does it say that we are to retire and quit giving of ourselves? There are nonprofits and ministries of every nature that would welcome, actually desperately need your level of experience, wisdom and availability.
Selfishly, I know of one. It is called Abiding Fathers. It has a Colleague training program that equips men, your kind of men, to mentor and disciple young fathers. You can assist them to be the dad they want to become. They need you. Families are disintegrating in America and the primary issue is the absentee father. The solution lies within your grasp.
Down deep, I think every grandparent wants to be used. But our culture has deprogrammed the older generation to believe that they are used up, worthless to society. Even the institutional church provides little challenge except for socials, trips and some Bible studies. The business world doesn’t want to hire us because of our age so we take the same mental image into our most potentially powerful and fruitful years and fade into the sunset. I will go out on a limb. If you want to live longer, healthier and feel so fulfilled, invest yourself in others right to the point of them putting you in the ground.
Fred Smith (Breakfast with Fred) was a mentor of a multitude of men throughout his career. In his failing health, up to the very last days of his long life, he was training, equipping, challenging and mentoring men and women from his bed. Fred is one of my heroes. A retired pastor, Hal Habecker, has just started a ministry called Finishing Well. Look him up. Another ministry in its infancy from California is Grandparents Matter.
Coincidentally, today our pastor featured the life of Jacob (Israel). Joseph, his son, brought his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, to meet their grandfather, Jacob. He was in the very last days of his life and all but blind. With his arms crossed and his hands on the head of the two grandsons, leaning on the crook of his staff to stand up, he blessed them. (Gen. 47/48) Wow, that’s how I want to finish and I bet you do also.
Don’t fall prey to the ‘retirement party syndrome’. You have not been put out to pasture to graze. You have been prepared to do significant things, greater things than you have ever thought possible. Will you go against the culture and invest your later life in others? Call me. We have a spot waiting for you. The pay is terrible but the joy and eternal rewards are immense!
Meditate on this: ‘The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him”’ (Psa. 92:12-15 NIV).