Grandfathers . . . patriarchs of the family . . . I believe they are a type of shepherd.
With their unique position, they have the ability to set and guide the tone of the family for decades and beyond their lifetimes. This can be either to the good of the family or to the ill condition of the family. Grandfathers who set a good tone care deeply about the spiritual diet and condition of their immediate family but also into the grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. They spend time with members of the family both individually and collectively. This leads to a type of shepherding, leading while hearing concerns/needs from the family.
I’ve been blessed to know my grandfathers and my wife’s grandfathers. What a blessing to spend time with them in “life’s training school!” Watching them spontaneously aid their fellow man without the desire to be noticed, pointing out good driving techniques, hunting techniques, and the commitment to the family worship time. I believe God fully intended for me, and not only me, to be the “students or sheep” of my grandfathers. Obviously, they were not perfect, and at times, I didn’t appreciate what they said and or did at various times in life. However, looking back, I recognize it was to my benefit in learning.
Both my grandfathers passed away in February of this year and I do miss them. It is now up to the next generation and myself, personally, to be faithful in carrying the torch of faith to pass along to the generation after me. Both grandfathers had the testimony of being ready and longing to meet their personal shepherd, Jesus Christ. At the funerals for my grandfathers, the familiar Psalm 23 was read. It’s a comfort to know my grandfathers are forever with the Lord, and I can look forward to meeting them again one day.
While I am not a grandfather, I endeavor to teach my family, and should the Lord tarry, the next generation (which would make me a grandfather) to experience and embrace Jesus Christ – the ultimate shepherd.
Keith is a Heralds of Hope board member. He makes his home with his wife and 10 children in the Selinsgrove, PA area.