When you hear the words patriarch or matriarch, what comes to mind? Old? Powerful? Influential? Those are things we often associate with these terms. By definition a patriarch or matriarch is the man or woman who is the oldest in a family or tribe, and possesses considerable influence and power because of their wisdom and longevity. Some patriarchs and matriarchs rule their families like tyrants. They have a firm grip and tight control, sometimes empowered by a strong financial position.
When I think of a patriarch or a matriarch who reflect God’s purpose, I think of those who hold a place of honor. In a word, they are venerable—revered. They hold that place, not only because they are the oldest members of the family, but because they have shown themselves deserving of such respect and honor. This is what grandfathers are to be—patriarchs. It is what grandmothers are to be—matriarchs.
What does it look like to be a patriarch or a matriarch? Let me share with you two stories, one this week and one next week, that will illustrate what I believe Scripture teaches us about these honored positions in our family. Let’s start with matriarch
As iron sharpen iron, so one man sharpens another. Prov. 27:17
If you have ever watched an experienced blacksmith perform his trade, you cannot escape the power of iron sharpening iron. From the furnace a red-hot strap of iron is pulled, laid on an iron anvil, and with the skill of a true artisan, the blacksmith uses an iron hammer to pound that iron strap ultimately into a finely crafted blade. When he begins the task, it’s difficult to imagine that something so beautiful could come from that inconsequential scrap.
So it is with human relationships. That is the message of Proverbs 27:17. In the same way that a blacksmith’s iron hammer and anvil collide with the prepared strap of iron to form a sharp, durable blade, so two lives pounded together on the anvil of accountability reach a mutual goal of
It’s not uncommon to hear people talk about wanting to change the world—whatever that may mean. The truth is that change happens when hearts are changed, one heart at a time. That’s the lesson of A Call to Grandparenting: Lessons Learned on Papa’s Pond by Mark Adcock. I recommended this book to you a few weeks ago. Now, with Grandparents’ Day just around the corner, I thought it would be good to hear directly from the author about the relationship with his grandfather and the impact his life had on Mark.
I believe the lessons of this story will both inspire and motivate you to stay the course and not lose heart. I pleased to be able to share Mark thoughts with you this week.
“Your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.” Matt. 18:14
Three years ago Anders Breivik at a summer camp in Oslo, Norway senselessly and savagely murdered sixty-nine people, mostly children. He did it to make a political statement. People around the world experienced intense anger, sadness, horror, and outrage because of this evil act. Who can imagine the sorrow and loss the parents and families of these children must have felt in the face of such an atrocity? We all felt the effect of this wickedness and others like it.
I wonder if we would feel the same outrage and sorrow if we stopped to consider another evil that is killing thousands, if not millions, of our children today.