Grandparents and Grand-friends Day

Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

My great grandfather always smelled like peppermint.  There were so many details I could remember him by, but I will always remember first the smell of the hard candy peppermints in his church blazer.  He never shaved completely, so hugs next to his rough cheek inevitably left my face just a little bit scratched.  He drove his classic pickup truck all around Ludington, and he had a horn that would play corny songs for the neighbors if he pushed a special button on the dashboard.  He was so warm and kind that instead of saying he was my great grandfather, we always called him “Grandpa Great.”

The best part about Grandpa Great was that he would reach into his blazer pocket each week, always the one with the brown leather buttons, and he would pull out a crisp one-dollar bill.  It was always perfectly smooth because he would have gotten it at the bank that week and left it in his wallet until church.  He would sneak my sister and I a dollar each saying, “Now girls, don’t tell your dad.” My sister and I would accept the money as if it were the greatest treasure in the world.   My dad would glance over with a stern look on his face, but we knew each time he wasn’t upset by the gift.

Grandpa Great never intended to make my sister nor I rich on those Sundays.  In fact, he would only gift us these dollars after he had put his weekly check in the plate at church.  We would all arrive at the small church on the top of the hill together, and we would walk in as a family.  He would sit at the end of the aisle and put his small envelope in the velvet-lined silver plate with a solemn look.  After the church service was through, he would find the extra two dollars to gift to my sister and I.

Little did we know that the weekly investment time with Grandpa Great had nothing to do with the dollars he kept putting into our pockets.

As a fully-grown woman with a family of my own, I am now aware that Grandpa Great did not mean to teach me much through his dollar gifts.  He wanted to teach a different message instead:  that it was good to be together in the Lord’s house…on the Lord’s day.  Instead, he wanted to show us his faithfulness to our family legacy of following Jesus.

This analogy carries on today, as I observe my parents being grandchildren to my children.  I see them gift my children, and then I see them invest in my children’s faith.  They pray with them, read the Word with them, listen to their weekly memory verses that they’ve learned in class.  I treasure this faith investment so much more than any other investment they could give.

We think of Jesus teaching the disciples in Matthew 13 about the man who found a treasure hidden in the land, and selling all he had, went and purchased the land.  He knew that he had given all his earthly wealth for a treasure of greater value.  The disciples came to understand that the treasure was the kingdom of heaven, and that following Jesus was worth any sacrifice they could make.  As followers of Christ, the idea of “investment” and “treasure” take on a whole new meaning.

Soon we will be celebrating you, grandparents and grand-friends, the people in our lives that have invested in us in countless ways.

We are grateful to all of you that have established your homes as havens of the kingdom.  We are grateful to you that encourage and invest in your families so that the Word of the Lord is a “lamp for their feet and a light for their path” (Ps. 119:105).   We are grateful to those of you that make Christian education possible.  We are grateful to you that have blessed your families with a legacy of faith to follow.

We are honored to celebrate with you, Grandparents, Grand-friends, and mentors.  We are honored to teach your heirs, your legacy, and the next generation of Jesus-followers.  Grandparents and Grand-friends, thank you for hiding mints in your church blazers, thank you for one-dollar bills in your pocket, and thank you for showing us how to follow Jesus.  We fully intend to pass the legacy on.