Very early one morning long ago a mother awoke. She packed up her four year old son's clothes, made a lunch for him and for herself and set off. Long ago this mother had made a promise at the altar of the Lord. Now it was time to honor her promise.
Have you ever made a deal with God? Have you been so frustrated with circumstances you cried out to God? You promised if he would answer your prayer you would return something to him. That's what this mom did. Maybe you know her. Her name is Hannah and her son's name was Samuel.
In a remarkable testimony to Hannah's faith, we see her honoring her promise. She took her son to the temple far away. She entrusted Samuel to Eli, the aged priest who had called Hannah out for appearing to be drunk as she poured out her heart in agony. Now he would be her substitute as the child's counselor and caregiver. Ouch!
I know of very few moms who would be able to have the integrity of Hannah. Look up Samuel 1 to read her story. Hannah honored the Lord and so did her son. When God called Samuel to serve him, Sam's response was, "Here I am, Lord." Mom had taught him to be ready to serve his Savior any time, any place. He had learned his lesson well.
The rest of her life God richly blessed Hannah because she understood her child belonged to the Lord. That doesn't mean she loved Samuel any less. It means that she loved the Lord more. Later, God especially honored Samuel as the prophet of Israel. He filled Samuel with the Holy Spirit and power.
What about us? Do we have the integrity of Hannah? Do we honor the promises we make to God? What are we teaching our children about service to others and to the Lord? Are we willing to give our beloved children back to God to work in his service?
It is my prayer that every child learns to readily respond to God's call as faithful Samuel did: "Here I am, Lord." Serving others is the way to a joyful life and a heart filled with love for the Lord!