Links for the Weekend (8/21/2020)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Woe Is Me

Self-pity is “when we have a self-indulgent attitude toward our own hardships.” I suspect many of us are tempted to self-pity; Abigail Dodds gives us a good description of this sin, and she points us to the cure as well.

At root, the sin in self-pity is that we assess ourselves and our circumstances as though God is not our gracious Father. When we take God out of the picture, when his pity for us in the death and resurrection of his beloved Son with the continued help of his Spirit isn’t enough, we turn to ourselves for love and pity. When we believe there are gaps in God’s love — and we use our circumstances as proof — we tend to take action to fill in those gaps with self-love or self-pity.

Watch Your (Knowledge) Diet in the COVID-19 Crisis

How should Christians relate to media in a world with too much information and too little wisdom? Brett McCracken proposes a guide to help us with our media consumption—a guide he calls the Wisdom Pyramid. I found the visual representation helpful!

As our world today has made painfully clear, wisdom is not the result of simply having easier access to more information. It’s not about the amount of information we have, but its quality and reliability. Wisdom is less like a repository for knowledge than a filter for it, like a healthy kidney: retaining what is nutritious as it filters out the waste. A. W. Tozer compares wisdom to a vitamin: “It does not nourish a body in itself, but if not present, nothing will nourish the body.”

The First and Last Thing My Grandma Taught Me

Here’s a nice reflection from Amber Thiessen about what she learned from her grandmother. We could all probably learn a thing or two about how to look to grandparents and how to be grandparents from this article.

And through Grandma’s life, she adopted this practice consistently. Through my work at the hospital, I’ve been part of moments of life, and of death. There are many ways that families and patients cope with the passing of life, and Grandma’s beautiful anticipation of being with her Savior reminds me of the constant hope we have of our eternity, when we live our lives to love and follow Him.


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Grandparents, We Need You!

As I was leaving a restaurant recently, I walked past a booth where an older man was sitting with a young girl. (I assume this was his preteen granddaughter.) The girl put on headphones and played with her phone while the man sipped his coffee and looked off sadly in the distance.

This stuck with me all day. I couldn’t imagine a breakfast without conversation, especially with my grandfather! What a tragedy.

Abundant Opportunity

Though this was a sad scene, I was not entirely discouraged. I mourned for this man, but then I turned the scene around in my head. What is the best outcome of such a meal?

Grandparents carry tremendous influence with their grandchildren. Here are three ways I’m praying my kids learn from their grandparents.

1. Learn Through Conversation

Many children are eager to talk about themselves but unable to focus on others. Outside of immediate family and school friends, they aren’t great at communication.

Meanwhile, grandparents love spending time with their grandchildren, and they’re delighted to play games, go to the park, or chat over cookies. Your kids can learn valuable lessons during these visits.

Train your children to interact with older adults. Teach them how to ask questions (and follow-up questions), how to listen, and how to take interest in others.

In addition to growing in conversational and social skills, children will learn more about their family. They can hear about their grandparents’ jobs, families, and adventures, and they might even see their parents in a new light.

In grandparents, children have an eager, loving, attentive audience. We can bless both our children and our parents by encouraging these visits.

2. Learn Through Experience

Godly grandparents have a precious heritage to pass along. A lifetime of walking with God, learning from him, and seeing his work—these are all gifts for younger generations.

Older Christians often have moving stories of God’s redemption and provision. They have seen his love displayed in ways that come only with decades of faithfulness. These stories display in vibrant color some of God’s attributes that might only exist in black and white for children.

As children hear testimonies of God’s goodness, they grow in their faith. When we learn how God has worked and provided in the past, we gain confidence that God will work and provide in the future.

3. Learn Through Example

While children are at the beginning of life, grandparents are closer to the end. One of the best gifts grandparents can give is to show how to age, weaken, and die with a joyful hope in Jesus.

That took a dark turn, didn’t it? Stay with me.

Most children are insulated from the hard realities of the Fall. We prepare them for school and jobs, for a spouse and a church, but we don’t talk much about sickness, weakness, and frailty. However, death is more sure than a spouse is. Our children need to know how to die.

Children shouldn’t develop a fascination with the grave, but thinking about death brings our faith into sharp focus. We see what really matters.

As grandparents age, they can show their grandchildren the greatness of God and the liberating salvation Jesus has won. As their bodies ache, as moving and breathing become more difficult, they can guide children to the true source of hope.

It’s easy for children to focus on the latest toy, the approval of friends, or the perfect science project. In the end, these are all meaningless. With a steady gaze at the glory of God, grandparents can display the power and grace of God to save and love sinners. Toward the end of life, grandparents can point to God in ways that peers, teachers, and even parents cannot.

Look Ahead

Parents, if your parents (or parents-in-law) are no longer around, don’t despair. Most churches are full of godly men and women who love children. They would jump at the chance to visit with your family once a month.

Finally, by God’s grace, let’s be the older Christians we seek for our kids. Let’s pursue God with all that we have so he can use us to influence generations to come.

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