Psalm 128:6 says, “May you live to see your children’s children.” That’s a prayer that someone will one day become a grandparent. These days, thanks in large part to modern medicine many people can expect to live to an old, old age. It’s possible to even see three generations be born in your lifetime. Plenty of people who are in church today are grandparents, but not everyone. But it’s likely we all have had grandparent(s) as we were growing up. Today we’ll consider some of the important ways grandparents (and other elders) can influence and bless our lives. Grandparents can teach grandkids to be of service to others. Who here went along with a grandparent to “drop off” something to a neighbor? Maybe it was a casserole because someone was sick, or a friend needed to borrow some tools. A grandpa might mow the lawn of an elderly neighbor or shovel their driveway in the winter but refuse to take any money. They’d just say, “It’s the right thing to do.” Grandmothers might quietly serve others by mending clothes and hemming pants for widowers. They might bring friends who can’t drive anymore to their doctor’s appointment, or to the grocery store. Grandparents can also be generous in the ways they serve their community. Some help as a volunteer at a hospital, a school or a fire station. Others might be part of a community band or gardening club. May we be like them and make the time to serve others. Grandparents can teach grandkids some special life skills. Who was taught to sew, knit, crochet, or do crafts with a grandmother? Did a grandfather show you how to change a flat tire or your oil? Did they show you how to plant, care for, and harvest fresh produce from a garden? Did you learn to hunt, fish, or farm with a grandparent? What recipes did a grandparent use as they taught you to cook in a kitchen or over a campfire in the woods? There are lots of things grandparents teach their grandkids. May we be like them and teach others the life skills we know. Grandparents can show us how to wisely spend our money. Many had a simpler life growing up; probably only one person earned a paycheck. That made them spend their money carefully, and if they had to, they could usually make do. Life for grandparents was mostly about needs, not wants. That shaped the ways they spent and saved their money. Did your grandparents have the same living room or dining room furniture for as long as you can remember? Did they drive a car or truck until it was pretty worn out, or buy a nice new one off the lot every few years? Were their clothes comfortable and their shoes practical, unless they dressed up for church on Sundays? Grandparents can teach us the value of a dollar, the wisdom of living within our means and saving for a rainy day. May we be like them in those same ways. Grandparents can spoil grandkids and get away with it! Before a child is even born – isn’t there shopping that is done? Grandparents may also like to find the children’s books and toys they stored from long ago when their kids were babies and let the newest little ones enjoy them. Plus, they find neat gifts in stores, things like a red wagon for a birthday present, a first bicycle, maybe even a swing set. Grandparents also like to bring their grandkids to visit special places nearby, but sometimes they also take them to amusement parks, a zoo, a sporting event, or a visit to the ocean. But of all the place grandkids might go, sometimes their favorite place is to their grandparent’s home. Overnights can be especially fun. You might be given a freshly baked cookie not long before supper! Or you might stay up later than your usual bedtime to catch lightning bugs. All sorts of treats and fun outings can happen because grandparents tend to have more free time than parents. May we remember grandparents who gave us special treats, and occasionally bent the rules, and know that that really is O.K. once in a while! Grandparents can be the family’s storytellers. They are the wonderful bridge between the past few generations and those living today. They know so many interesting details about older relatives because they were there to see them first-hand. They can fill in the family tree and tell stories, sometimes for hours. They can point to black & white photos and talk about where the people lived and worked, who they may have married and what they did in their free time. Some of what is told will be funny; other news can be sad. You might learn you have family members who proudly served in the military. Others might have taken trips to far-away places and there are old postcards that show their travels. As grandparents share their stories, a family sees how many generations came before them. That history, that comes alive in the telling, very much helps younger generations have a sense of belonging. It helps gives them roots but it can also make them dream about what interesting things they might do with their lives. May we be storytellers, when the time comes, and keep alive the amazing, unique history of our family. Grandparents can also be the ones who pass on their faith to their grandkids. They might be brought to church on Sunday mornings. Children are usually greeted with smiles, then when they sit they will see the adults around them singing songs together. They may hear a children’s story from a Bible and if they feel comfortable, go to Sunday School to learn, do crafts, and maybe have a snack. Ever though it is called Sunday School, new kids will learn there are never any tests to take. They will also hear a lot of stories about Jesus and His love for everyone. Grandparents might be the ones who teach grandchildren the words to The Lord’s Prayer. They may also bow their heads at the dinner table and say a prayer of thanks, out loud, to God. As kids get older, grandparents may ask them if they want to help serve at the church. Grandkids catch on pretty quick that there is often really good food and lots of desserts when church people get together. If you like pie at all, you are really going to like church! May we all invite children to come to church, Sunday School, and other happenings at the church. And may we always be role models in our homes. I want to end with a sweet and true experience a mom had one day with her young son. She was busy getting dinner started and her 4-year-old son bumped into the back of her legs and fell on his backside. Up he stood, and mom made sure he was OK, but in less than a minute, as she started to turn, she almost tripped again because he was like a little shadow behind her. She took a deep breath and resolved to be patient AND keep her eye on her active son. But, to her exasperation, it wasn’t long before he was right behind her again. She got down to his level and said: “Why are you bumping into mommy like this?” With a nervous little smile, he explained that he was just doing what his Sunday School teacher taught him. "She said, 'Every day, walk in Jesus’ footsteps.' Since I’ve never seen Jesus at our house, I thought I should walk in your footsteps.” That little boy got a very big hug from his mom when he said that. That is my hope and prayer for myself and all of us for the coming week. May we walk just like Jesus would have, if he were here! Amen.