October 2, 2001
by Jim Taylor

Matthew 15:18 – But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man "unclean". (NIV)

Today's verse has caused me some difficulties lately. Now don't get me wrong, I haven't been having any uncontrolled swearing binges, or anything like that, but something happened recently that makes me feel like I need to be very careful.

It all started when my wife and I agreed to watch our two-year-old granddaughter, Grace, for two days. Now before I go any further, I need to tell you that Grandma and Grandpa have different ideas on what "watching grandchildren" entails. Grandma believes that grandparents must either continually be reading to them or getting down on the floor and playing with them — basically devoting 100 percent of your time to them — just trying to make them happy. Meanwhile, I believe that it's the grandparent's role to impart wisdom and wax philosophic so that the grandchildren can grow up to be God-fearing and law-abiding citizens.

Obviously, our two-year-old granddaughter enjoyed Grandma's approach much better than mine. Grace loved the book reading and the playing. When I would impart wisdom from time to time, my "impartation" of that wisdom seemed to fall on deaf ears. Grace would just look at me, shake her head in disbelief, and go back to her playing.

Now, Grace loves pizza, so for lunch on day two of her visit, we went to the local pizza buffet. After our drinks had arrived and we had had our prayer, my wife went to get some food for her and Grace. So that left Grace and me alone together — another opportunity to wax philosophic. But Grace was much more interested in trying to see where Grandma was — and what Grandma was doing. And while she wasn't about to cry, I could sense that something was bothering her. Finally, I asked, "What is up with you, Grace?"

Immediately, she turned and looked at me, got a big grin on her face, and loudly said, "Whatsuppp?" So, as the grandfather, and wanting to impart something of importance, I looked back at her, and replied just as loudly, "Whatsuppp?" And then for the rest of the day, Grace and I had a wonderful time exchanging "Whatsuppp?" "What are you doing?" and my favourite, "How ya' doin'?" A great time was had by both grandfather and granddaughter.

Now, as you may have guessed, Grandma wasn't any too pleased — but she waited until Grace went to bed that night, and then she asked me, "Is that how you want to be remembered by your granddaughter?" Oh, I hate it when she's right, and she was certainly right about this! If something happened to me, would Grace's only memory of her Grandpa be that the two of us used to exchange tag lines from beer commercials?

I certainly did have a problem with what was coming out of my mouth.

From now on, when it comes to imparting wisdom and waxing philosophic for my grandchildren, I think the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 will be a tremendous guide. And while Paul was writing to the "brothers", I have taken the liberty of replacing the word "brothers" with "grandchildren".

1 Corinthians 2:1-2 – When I came to you, grandchildren, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (NIV)

Prayer: Our heavenly Father, we get so involved in the things of this world. Help us, once again, to fix our eyes solely on Jesus. In Jesus' name. Amen.

About the author:

Jim Taylor
Rocky Mount, North Carolina, USA

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