"In the midst of all this, Samuel, a boy dressed in a priestly linen tunic, served God."
I Samuel 2: 18, The Message
"Watching and Learning"
"Give me the children until they are seven and anyone may have them afterwards."
Francis Xavier, Missionary in India
What do the young hearts in my care watch and learn when they are around me?
Have great care of your children. We live in a time when much freedom is given to the expression of thought, but little care is taken that thoughts should be founded on truth. Teach them to love truth."
Macarius of Optino
"Our children are gifts, not merit badges…let us not forget Hannah and all her sisters."
Carol M. Bechtel
He was just 6-months-old when he lost his mother, that precious person who had given him life and his name. And so my dad, abandoned by a father he never knew and a mother who died, was left alone with little if any knowledge, of who he belonged to. Then one day, as a young boy, with a group of schoolmates, he visited the home of a prominent woman in the community whose husband was President of the local college. As this women asked each child to identify themselves by their name, she stopped abruptly when my dad told her his name.
"Aren't you Dot Hardin's boy," she asked? "Yes," my dad responded hesitantly.
"Oh, I knew your mother. She worked for me and what a wonderful woman she was," Mrs. Gammage shared. And then she continued by telling my dad how cheerful his mother was. How she was always singing while she worked.
This was all this orphaned child knew about his mother until he was nearly twenty years old.
But it was enough to make such an impression on him that years later, he would share that from that day on, he purposed in his heart he would live his life to make his mother proud.
When I read in I Samuel that Hannah returned her child, the gift she was given from heaven, to Eli when he was just a tot to begin his training in the service of God, my mind returned to another mother we studied, Jochebed, who gave her precious child to a heathen princess in Egypt after only a few years of training. And yet, both these Godly mothers, reaped a heavenly harvest, for the seeds they planted each day, cultivated by the love that like rain was showered upon their children, produced men that didn't just grow to become adults - they grew to be heaven-sent servant-leaders at a time when Israel needed their stalwart influence and their spiritual guidance.
How interesting, that in the lives of both Moses and Samuel, it was the early years of personal contact and witness by their mothers, whose presence reflected heaven's light, that had such a profound influence on their lives.
As in the life of my own dad, it was the witness of just one person who knew his mother, which changed the direction of his life.
As we read our text in I Samuel 2: 18, after a rather lengthy description of the heinous disregard the sons of Eli had for the things of God and their blatant disobedience in leading God's children astray, we are told that "the child" Samuel, "in the midst of all this," still served God. Every year, his mother came and brought him a coat, which I might add, didn't just protect him from the cold - that coat symbolized a mother's love and prayers that were constantly wrapped around her child as he grew to serve the Lord. What a testimony to the legacy of Hannah's life.
"I think it's important to teach our children - as the Bible says - line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little. If you try to teach a child too rapidly, much will be lost. But the time for teaching and training is preteen. When they reach the teenage years, it's time to shut up and start listening."
Ruth Bell Graham
"Almighty God, designer of all that is good and worthy, look upon my children and fill them with direction and purpose. Help them, O Lord, to look into their hearts and minds and know that there is a place for them in this, Your world. Teach them to love and trust You. They are growing up, O Lord, in a world far from Your design, and they are lost in its quickness. You are the Good Shepherd; gather these Your sheep and lead them to a life of meaning and hope through Your never-ending grace. All this I ask in the name of Your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen."
Ms. Mary Jane Miller
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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