When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child,
I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish
ways behind me. I Corinthians NIV
“Look how loose my tooth is,” I said as I showed them my dangling incisor, never dreaming that they’d want to pull it.
“Just yank that right out of there!” said my teenage uncle.
Horrified, that he might do it, I shut my mouth, shaking my head vehemently no. I was seven-years-old and visiting my grandparents’ farm. I had no intentions of letting anyone pull my tooth. My front teeth had fallen out when they were ready, and I had every confidence that this one would too.
Then Grandpa said, “Come here and let me see.” Reluctantly, I walked across the room and opened my mouth. “Why that tooth is only hanging by a thread. You wouldn’t even feel it if I gave a little tug on it. If you keep it in there, the next time you eat, you may swallow it.”
I thought about that. That meant I wouldn’t get the quarter from the tooth fairy. I needed to think about that possibility.
Then my uncle spoke again. “I’ll tell you what we need to do. We need to tie a string around it and tie the other end around the doorknob. Then we’ll slam the door! That tooth will be out in nothing flat!”
I didn’t like the sound of that. Immediately, I looked into my grandpa’s eyes. I felt reassured as I saw him shake his head no. “Hush, now!” He said. “It’s her decision to make.” Then looking at me, he added, “It won’t be any big deal, just let me know if you decide you want me to do it.”
I believed Grandpa, but I didn’t want him to pull my tooth. I didn’t want anyone to pull my tooth. My tooth was just fine moving to-and-fro at the flick of my tongue. I made my decision. I would move it constantly, and it would be out before supper. If it didn’t come out, well maybe I’d let Grandpa pull it.
Suppertime rolled around, and I saw a platter filled with one of my favorites, corn on the cob. Gathering my courage, I decide it was time I grew up a little. After all, I wasn’t a baby. If Grandpa said he could pull it without pain, well I’d just have to trust him. Growing up meant being brave, learning to stand some things that are less than pleasant—trusting that you could get through it.
“Grandpa,” I said, “I’m ready,” and I opened my mouth.
Without a word, he plucked out my shiny white baby tooth. I hadn’t felt a thing. Feeling pleased that I had actually let Grandpa pull my tooth, I showed it to everyone, then ran back to hug my grandpa, thanking him. That day, my trust in Grandpa grew; he had told me the truth. But, most importantly, I had left some of my childish fears behind, I had grown-up a little.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:14-15 that we are all to become full-grown in the Lord. He encourages us in 2 Peter 2:2 NIV to be like newborn babies and, “Crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” We are to choose to study God’s Word so that we may grow spiritually. By engaging in a Bible study and being in the Word daily, we will progress from the elementary teachings of Christ and move on to more mature studies (Hebrews 6:1)
Our goal must be to always be growing in our knowledge of the Lord. Grandparents have a wonderful chance to help their grandchildren grow spiritually. These observant young people are looking to us to see how important we consider the principle of spiritual growth. What they may not buy into with their parents, is more easily accepted from their grandparents.
King Manasseh almost waited too long to come to the Lord, but after a reign of wickedness, he did turn to God and his heart was changed. This was timely because about this time, he became a grandfather to young Josiah. Josiah’s father, was suffering the consequences of his father’s years of sin and was very wicked. But young Josiah spent his first six years, which psychologist tell us are the formative years of our personalities with his godly grandfather.
I imagine that King Manasseh, a new believer, was pouring over God’s laws, trying to learn all he could about God’s teaching. I can almost see, young Josiah being taught at his grandfather’s knee. As Manasseh shared what he was learning, Josiah was observing a faith that was growing. He saw how his Grandpa Manasseh valued God’s Word by letting it dwell in his heart and becoming a doer of the Word. Josiah’s training at his grandfather’s knee was potent because two years later, after his grandfather’s and father’s death, he became the King of Judah at age eight. 2 Chronicles 34:2 tells us “He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father; and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.” I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of grandparent I want to be. I want to give them the godly heirloom of spiritual maturity. I want to help them grow-up in the Lord.
Ø Grandchildren need to know/observe grandparents taking spiritual nourishment from God’s Word.
Ø Grandchildren need to know/observe grandparents letting God’s Word dwell in their heart and becoming doers of the Word.
Ø Grandparents need to share God’s Word with their grandchildren.
Ø Grandparents need to serve as guides in a grandchild’s spiritual growth by being trustworthy and never lying to them.
Passing on The Godly Heirloom
of SPIRITUAL GROWTH
v Grandparents, make a scrapbook journal of your spiritual growth journey. Include baptismal certificates or snapshots, photos of any conferences, camps , or church events which kept you on track and growing in the Lord. Share with your grandchildren how you formed the habit of a daily quiet time. If this is still difficult for you, share your struggle with your grandchild. Talk about how you learned to walk with Jesus one day at a time. Be sure to provide your grandchildren with the materials to start recording their own spiritual journal.
v A springtime activity teaches why we need spiritual growth. Give your grandchildren two plants. Leave one plant in the sunshine and water it as needed. The other plant is to be put in a closet and ignored. After one week, have the child check the plants and describe what happened. Point out the first plant is like us when we nourish ourselves with Bible study and prayer. The second plant is like us when we don’t; without taking spiritual nourishment, we dry up and die.
Older children will enjoy being the caretaker for tomato plants. One is to be planted in sunlight and watered, the other in a shaded area and ignore. They are to compare the growth results at the end of the summer, the amount of fruit, etc. Conclusions can then be drawn.
v This activity will encourage your grandchildren and help them understand why we need to be in church. Give each grandchild a magnet and some metal items (paper clips are a good choice, for they are not particularly sharp). Let the grandchildren experiment by picking up these items with the magnets. Talk about how the metal objects stick together and to the magnet. Discuss how it is easier to remove one item, then to remove several at one time. Suggest that they let the strength in the magnet represent the love and power of Jesus Christ, and the magnet represents His church. We, the believers, are drawn to Him and become stronger in our faith as we pull together towards Him. This is why Jesus said, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another. . . Hebrews NIV