My grandparents have a gift for inviting people into their lives through sharing the things they value and enjoy. As their oldest grandchild, I have benefited immensely from their investment of both time and intentionality.
My grandma and grandpa love to take leisurely drives during the summer and fall months to soak in the country sunsets. On one drive, my grandparents met a family whose occupation was mint farming. In the course of their conversation, they discovered the farmers were Christians and that their daughter was serving as a college missionary. My grandpa knew I was doing something similar and asked if he could connect us. On his next visit, he invited me go with him to meet this fellow missionary. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the farm, their daughter had already left to return to school. However, the trip was far from just a missed opportunity to meet a new friend!
While visiting that day, we learned that the family’s matriarch had just passed away. Because my grandfather has always modeled spontaneous prayer for me, I was comfortable suggesting that we pray with the farmer’s wife right then and there. This shared moment of prayer was a blessing for her, and it built my faith as well. I was able to get her daughter’s contact information, and we soon connected in a phone conversation, encouraging each other in our specific mission work and praying together.
Looking back on that country drive, my grandpa, in his own strategic way, helped me to take some practical steps forward in my faith life. The first was being willing to spontaneously pray for someone, and the second was taking the initiative to reach out to someone I’d never met before. Grandpa taught me not to fear expanding my connections to other Christians. I tagged onto elements of my grandfather’s faith, and now those practices have become part of my own faith.
I imagine some grandparents might find it intimidating to invite a grandchild to take a spiritual step forward. However, in my case, the end result was worth the potential temporary discomfort. I can truly see how the Holy Spirit guided my grandfather’s efforts in this. He invited me into a window of grace and created an opportunity for me to take bold steps of faith. He has quite effectively passed on a bit of his faith to one of his children’s children.
As Jesus might say… “Now go and do likewise.”
For Discussion: Grandparents need to be both strategic (planning) and responsive to the need of the moment (praying on the spot) as the grandfather was in this story. How often are you strategic vs. responsive?
For Action: How can you develop strength on your “weak side?”
Elizabeth Luea is the oldest of nine children. She graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in nursing and now serves the Lansing community through her work at Sparrow Hospital.
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