Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Family-Space for Faith Formation 
1 Samuel 1:19-28

Joel Thomas
St. John’s MTC, NY
27 For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. 28 Therefore I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.” She left him there for the Lord.
                       What do you really yearn for in life? Perhaps a successful career, a strong family life, excelling at a talent, or a loving relationship. Many of us pray to Our Father that these dreams materialize and promise to dedicate them to His Kingdom. Of course, most of us fail on the latter. We see here, in today’s word, that Hannah did not.
                         To understand what Hannah sacrificed, we have to look at the context. In the Old Testament, women often equate the number of children they bore to their spousal value. We see similar feelings in Sarah, wife of Abraham, and Leah, wife of Jacob. Interestingly, Hannah’s husband does what Abraham and Jacob did not. He reassures her that his love for Hannah is independent of the children she bears. “Don’t I mean more to you than 10 sons?” Yet, Hannah still feels deep rooted pain because a child is what she yearned for with all her heart.
                   She then brought her dream to God’s feet. She wept there and promised that if God delivered, she would dedicate this child to His service. God heard Hannah’s prayer and within a year she had a child.  Hannah then brings her son, Samuel, to the Tabernacle at Shiloh and releases her son to Eli the priest to carry out whatever God has planned. Is that not odd? Here is a woman who had cried for years just to have a son, and now after the short weaning period, gives him away to God. We are not the only ones who find it peculiar. In fact, even Hannah’s husband states “Do what seems best to you”. Why does Hannah choose to do this?
                   Hannah had a transformation of motives.Originally, she wanted her dream to materialize for all the worldly reasons we want our dreams to materialize - personal happiness. However, after her promise, we see her heart change and Hannah follows through by dedicating her child to the Lord. How many of us follow through? How many of us undergo this transformation of motives when God gives us what we have steadfastly prepared for?
                             Now some of us may be wondering how any of this is fair. How can God can ask Hannah to make such a heart wrenching sacrifice? How can He want us to do the same? John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”


Our Father, Thank you for the gifts You have given us. If we have made a promise to dedicate these gifts to You, then help us fulfill them. If we struggle to do this, remind us that You have made the ultimate sacrifice by giving us Your one and only son. Amen.  
What promises have we made to God? Have we fulfilled them? If we haven’t, what steps can we take now to dedicate our gifts to His Kingdom.