The Fourth Quarter

“Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom”

Psalm 90:12

I know a grandfather who spends his time running a bible study on the campus of a nearby college. Wouldn’t he rather retire to Naples, Florida, and play golf, I thought? Actually, I asked him that!

He replied, “I don’t know how much time is left but I know I am in the fourth quarter and whatever time I have left is shrinking!”

He recognized the importance of time. In his “fourth quarter,” he opted for action. In fact, as he saw time shrinking in the latter stage of the game, every action increased in importance him. He knew that how he performed in that quarter could determine the outcome of the game: cruel defeat or sweet victory. In the fourth quarter, every play, every call, every second counts.

Taking decisive action in the fourth quarter requires a certain courage. Waiting for one’s expiration date doesn’t. It isn’t a winning strategy. My friend was like Balboa in “Rocky IV”, landing blows right up to the end of the fight.

The most valuable commodity in human life is not a bank account, a house, or a precious metal. It is time. Time is finite. It is resource that does not get larger. Our bank account can grow. Our wisdom can grow, but our time allotment is ever-shrinking.  

I am a new father. I look forward to seeing my son play sports. I cannot wait for him to experience the thrill of an exciting game. But, I also want him to look to the spiritual example of grandparents who are playing a knock-down, drag-out, leave-it-all-on-the-field fourth quarter of their own. Grandparents living this way not only maximize the time they have left, they set an example for me and my son.

For Discussion: What changes in the fourth quarter in sports? In life?

For Action: Consider one or more of your grandchildren and what would be “a great fourth quarter” play. Pray for that to happen.

Copyright © 2019 Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club.

Top photo image of an older person mentoring a younger person, from, © by monkeybusinessimages, stock photo ID: 3917765

About Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club

Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club is a program of the Sword of the Spirit. This program was founded in 2016 by Mike Shaughnessy as a resource to equip grandparents to share their faith with their grandchildren. Grandly teaches grandparents to “Think, Pray, and Act Strategically” in the lives of their grandkids. It recognizes that grandparents occupy a special role in the lives of their grandchildren, and if properly trained, can make an outsized impact on their spiritual lives.

As a youth minister, Mike knew the difference grandparents could make in the lives of their grandchildren. He wondered if it could happen more often. It wasn’t that they lacked the faith. What they lacked was a strategy. If grandparents learned how to think, pray, and act strategically, the way youth workers did, something marvelous would happen. It has. Strategic grandparents have become missionaries to their own grandchildren.

We equip grandparents to be “youth workers” to their own grandchildren. When we ask grandparents, “What is your biggest concern?” Most answer “our grandchildren,” not their retirement or the next vacation. Many see that their grandchildren are not getting the spiritual and moral formation they need, and feel equally unable to address that need. We currently equip grandparents to be youth workers through two venues: our website ( and our “Do It Grandly” Seminars.

Our website reaches a network of grandparents who are interested in learning how to think, pray, and act strategically. We publish bi-weekly online articles that provide encouragement, motivation, and practical tools on how to pass on their faith to grandchildren. Through our “Do It Grandly” seminars, we help grandparents to grow in their relational skills while providing insight into contemporary youth culture, giving them valuable tools for building impactful, Christ-centered relationships with their grandchildren. These seminars provide a way for Sword of the Spirit grandparents to re-enter internal (their own grandchildren) and external (their own peers) mission.

For access to inspirational articles, sign up for a free membership at

Interested in hosting a seminar in your local community or learning more? Please email Pili Galvan Abouchaar at

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