This summer we were again treated with the comings and goings of grandchildren. Several of the older ones stayed the entire summer while the youngest ones floated in and out. However at the very end (last week), we had at times all ten, and that was fun and quite exhausting. Papa and Granny ain’t as young as they use to be.
On their last Sunday with us, we paused after worship and took the traditional grandparents/grandchildren picture. You know I immediately made it the background for my laptop. As I look at it and remember the great time we had with them, I can almost hear their little voices, “Papa what cha doing,” “Papa can I go with you,” “Gee-Gee (Lil Stephen’s version of Granny) eat,” “Granny, is it time for the UNO tournament?” Six of them are now home and back in school. The time went way too fast.
One of the traditions we have is to gather them all for one last time and ask each of them what they enjoyed most about their time with Papa and Granny. Their answers amaze us every time we do this. What we thought was quite simple and insignificant meant the most to them. Here’s how that went:
“I liked it when we went to that big playground.”
“I liked the cookout and bonfire at Uncle Stephen’s and Aunt Mandy’s.”
“No, no the best thing was the UNO tournament!”
“Yeah that was cool, but I really enjoyed going to the different restaurants, especially ‘Tom and Eddie’s.’”
“I really liked riding around with Tia Nell.”
Then it happens folks, one of them says something that lands right at the core of Papa and Granny’s heart:
“I really liked the times we spent reading and talking about the Bible.”
This is when the lack of faith analysis begins. Did the child say that because she is savvy enough to know how we would feel about it? Was she simply earning her ticket back to Papa and Granny’s house next summer? Or was it genuine? Perhaps she really did enjoy the times of morning exercise and family worship. I really don’t know, and I really should not sweat it either. After all, Isaiah did say the Word would not return empty (Is. 55:10-11).
However, this child reminded me in an unexpected but fresh way of the importance of spending time with the family in the Word of God. She preached an entire sermon to me in one little sentence. The other things we did with the grandchildren were good, and I would say important and certainly fun—especially Tom and Eddie’s. But none of them were as important as the time in the Scriptures, and they enjoyed it. Spending time with the family around the word of God is indeed serious business (2 Tim. 1:4; 3:14-15). But it does not need to—or better yet should not need to—be entered into like detention class. I have approached it this way so many times, before. Maybe it was the grandchildren that caused Papa to lighten up a taste and try to make it enjoyable for them. Hopefully I have learned my lesson (Eph. 6:4).
Here’s something else I thought about as I gazed at our Summer of 2015 grandparents/grandchildren picture. These are grandchildren. Where did all the time go? It was not that long ago it seems, when we were taking their parents to the playground. Life is like a Midwest summer. It’s brief. It won’t be long before fall begins to set in and the green turns to yellow, red, and orange. Then in a few short months the grass and the trees will quietly—almost without notice—fall asleep for the winter. That’s how life is according to James 4:14. So we don’t have much time to make spending time in God’s Word one of the favorite things our families do together, do we?
The kid in me says every year, “Summer means good times.” Thanks to the little grandchild I can amend my summer philosophy: “Summer means good times in the Word of God.” Although it’s quickly coming to an end, it’s still summertime, and we are on the porch. Anybody got any ideas of ways to make family times in the word more enjoyable? C’mon on up and share.