“A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.” Prov. 13:22
Who doesn’t love giving gifts to their grandchildren, especially at Christmas? I know we certainly do. Yet, kingdom-minded grandparents understand that giving good gifts is not the same as attempting to buy happiness for our grandchildren or from our grandchildren by giving them whatever they want.
When the wise writer of Proverbs speaks of a good man’s inheritance, I think it likely he is speaking of more than material assets. I suspect he gets that a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. Kingdom grandparents seek to build a richer and better inheritance for their family and the gifts they give them—something not merely left FOR them, but something left IN them.
The Ultimate Gift
In Jim Stovall’s novel, The Ultimate Gift, Red Stevens realizes at the end of his life that he made some poor decisions about how he used his wealth with his family. “One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was when I gave everyone in our family everything that they thought they ever wanted… I spent many years trying to achieve happiness or buy it for friends and family… In trying to make up for all the times I wasn’t there, I gave them all materials things. In doing so, I robbed them of everything that makes life wonderful.”
Kingdom grandparents possess a love for their grandchildren so deep that gift giving takes on a very different purpose than Red Steven’s original objective. Kingdom gifting seeks to expose another to the all-surpassing treasure of knowing and loving Christ. Kingdom grandparents would rather give their grandchildren the Good News than even good gifts.
There is no greater gift than the gift God gives us through His Gospel. Kingdom grandparents want their grandchildren to have that gift and know the life a loving and wise God intended for them to have—a life rooted in the truth about who God is, what He has done, and who they are as treasured image-bearers of their Creator. Contrary to some of the messages today, my role as a grandparent is not to spoil my grandchildren with things that do not last. I am to give them an inheritance which points them to a truly full and rich life—one that is rich towards God.
Does this mean we don’t give material gifts? Of course not. But we must not forget that there are gifts we can give our grandchildren that are far more valuable than material gifts. Unfortunately, those are the gifts we are prone to overlook. It’s easy to buy into the lie that material gifts somehow reflect how much we love them. It is a lie because the truth is such gifts are often more about what makes us feel good than what is good for them.
Kingdom Gifting Examples
So, what are examples of kingdom gifting? If you are one who spends a good deal on travel, eating out and various amusements, consider turning some of those expenses into kingdom investments for the spiritual welfare of your grandchildren (and yourself). Here are some suggestions:
- Turn your vacation time into ministry opportunity with your grandchildren on a mission trip or doing a service project together. Talk to your pastor or youth leaders about some possible options you could do together.
- For younger, grade-school age grandchildren who live nearby, explore opportunities to help with Thanksgiving or Christmas basket distributions, or volunteering at a Samaritan’s Purse distribution warehouse near you for Operation Christmas Child. The opportunities are there if we take the time to look and ask God to show us how He would have us serve.
- Give your grandchildren a gift of a grand adventure at GrandCamp next summer.
- Give your grandchildren a money gift along with a Christmas or birthday gift, but with a simple twist. Instead of spending the money on themselves, ask them to use it to bless another who needs some encouragement. For example,
- Purchase a blanket or new winter gloves for a homeless person and taking it to them.
- Buy flowers for someone they know who needs cheering up.
- Buy a special gift for someone who may not be well-liked by others is school or the neighborhood
What gifts are you giving your grandchildren that will help them find the ultimate gift? Your grandchildren deserve a better inheritance than simply getting whatever they want. And why not get a copy of Courageous Grandparenting for yourself to help you put into practice what we’ve been discussing.
Share with us some of the ways you are building that better inheritance.
GRANDPAUSE: Your children and grandchildren will not remember you by the material things you gave to them, but by the inheritance of faith, truth and love you left with them.