An alarming report recently grabbed my attention:
A seven-year study of the causes of death among teens in America observed that the top three causes of death were accidents, homicide, and suicide.* Almost half of those tragedies—about 68,000 deaths—were accidents, and most of those accidents—about 46,000—were by motor vehicle.
Sit back for a moment and reflect with me. What led to those 131,000 deaths? Bad choices. The general principle: Bad choices take away life; wise choices add life.
Those dramatic statistics help me focus on a vital priority in my “intentional grandparenting”: I need to help my grandchildren become wiser and wiser. They need to show in their attitudes and behavior that (1) they understand the consequences of their choices and (2) have the wisdom to choose well.
My lead-off blog in this series about “intentional grandparenting” focused on the alarming message of Judges 2:10. It challenged us to engage intentionally in the ministry of “intergenerational discipling” by praying for—and influencing—each of our own grandchildren to begin their individual, redemptive relationship with God.
Once they begin that relationship with Him, they need to nourish it by cultivating wisdom. God’s Word says much about living and choosing wisely. It is a lifelong commitment that builds on “fearing” the Lord (Proverbs 1:7) as a way of life.
The Hebrew word in the Old Testament that is translated “wise” is used in various contexts. In the context of life in general, this word describes a person who is skillful and practical at living in harmony with God’s expectations. We find this word most often in the “wisdom literature”: Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes.
How does wisdom show in our grandkids? Proverbs 3, 4, and 5 show us that the proof of our grandchildren’s developing wisdom is their increasing knowledge, understanding, and ability to make the right choices at the right time and in the right way. Are they understanding and choosing wisely in a few situations, or in many situations? Their consistency in this is a measure of their developing maturity.
What difference does wise living make? Its impact is significant:
- A lifestyle of walking wisely is our highest offering of worship to God (Ephesians 4:1; 5:1-2; James 3:13, 17).
- Walking wisely brings personal peace in relationships and situations, rather than anxiety and chaos (Proverbs 1:32-33; James 3:14-18).
- Our wisdom is a witness to those living in darkness who watch us (Deuteronomy 4:6).
- Walking wisely helps our children and grandchildren set an influential example as they teach their future children and grandchildren the wisdom of loving and walking in harmony with God (Deuteronomy 4:9).
Loving Father in heaven, please help (name of each grandchild) to take another step forward in Your wisdom this month. Please open my eyes to a way that I can be an example for them and an encouragement to them along their journey into the wisdom of honoring You by choosing well. For Your glory and in Jesus’ name, amen.
© 2019 John Garmo
* NCHS data brief, no. 37. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2010.