Monday, 11 June 2012

Matriarchs on a Monday - Hannah - giving our everything

"For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: 
Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD;"
1Samuel 1:27-28  

Here we find a truly humbling, challenging, indeed ASTONISHING, act of sacrifice.

Hannah had gone YEARS without a child.  She had agonised and sorrowed over the barrenness of her womb.  Of her absence of the blessing of a child.

The Lord, in His grace and goodness, grants her wish.  Her prayer is answered, and she has a son - naming his Samuel, "heard of God".  His name expressing the joy and answer to her prayers.

And yet, she doesn't selfishly seek to hold onto him as tightly as she can, and never let him go.  It would be tempting, I am sure. To have him always by her side - to never let him out of her sight.  

However, her choice that she makes is an indication of her devotion to God.  

She gives him right back.

She makes a promise to give him to the Lord, in service to Him.

To let him go.

We're not just talking figuratively, here - but physically, GIVING him back.

I can hardly understand it.  In fact, it makes my heart do funny things just THINKING about it.  Having now gone through the process of pregnancy and child birth seven times, the thought of then raising them up for a few years, and then voluntarily giving them away, is unthinkable.

And yet, that is exactly what Hannah did.  With her one and only child, not even knowing if she would ever have any more.  Such was her love and devotion to God, that she was willing to give him back, as a sign of her thankfulness to God.

How sacrificially do we live?  

What are we willing to give up to God, to show Him that we love Him?

Do we happily give away a few second hand items to a missionary, hoping they may get some more use out of them?....or do we give our best to those who have a need?

Do we give the Lord the snatched moments of our days, to spend in communion with Him?...or do we make the time to read our Bible and pray?

Do we give the minimum tithe, and not a penny more?...or do we give as much as we can to the work of the Lord?

Do we help others in need with the minimum that we can get away with?...or do we give of our time, efforts, money or belongings in a sacrificial way?

What about our children?  Do we work away at making sure they "do us proud", or do we look to giving them wholly to the Lord?  Are we willing to say to the Lord "thy will be done", when it comes to the lives of our loved ones?  Can we fully leave their circumstances and needs in the hands of the One who gave them to us in the first place, or do we try and take control with our puny, weak and temporal efforts?

Are we willing to accept that God's plan for their lives, may not be our own plans?

My mind goes back to the day that I told my Mum that Robert felt the Lord leading him into the ministry.

Her face literally dropped.  

As a Pastor's wife herself, things had not been easy.  My parents had gone through trials aplenty, and struggled in many ways on a human level.  She wanted to think that I wouldn't have to go through the same trials and struggles that she had.  As a protective mother, watching us go willingly into potentially the same difficulties as they had experienced, was not her choice. By. A. LONG. Stretch. 

But, she had also dedicated my life to the Lord, when I was just a baby.  My dad and Mum had said that they would bring me up to follow the Lord - the Lord was leading in this direction, and we were following, just as they had prayed I would.  Just not in the way they THOUGHT it would be!

I, too, had always said that I "would never be a Pastor's wife".  DAN-GER-OUS! 

NEVER say never. 

(I also said I would never move to Australia.....hmmmmmm......better look out! *grin* )

But, similarly, as a teen I had dedicated my life to the Lord.  I had said to Him "where He leads me, I will follow - I'll go with Him all the way".  I had come to Him with tears and said "whatever you have for my life, I am willing to follow you".  I was willing to sacrifice my wants and wishes - my plans and purposes - to higher hands than my own. I had thought it may be some sort of missionary service...but, no - it was to be a Pastor's Wife! *grin*

I was willing to give up my desires - as Hannah had - to the One who is the giver of every good gift.  

Whatever we have in this life... 


THAT is the key.  

We ultimately have no ownership over ANYTHING that God has given us.  It's all loaned to us, for our good and His glory.  

So, we need to have that sacrificial spirit that holds everything lightly, nothing tightly. 

Possessions AND people.

For some, the first may be harder than the second, and vice versa. 

"Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open."
Corrie Ten Boom

As Corrie Ten Boom says above, is we holding onto things tightly, when God DEMANDS them of us, because we have not been willing to give them up, it will be harder.  Always. 

So, how can we be more sacrificial in our lives?  If we think about it, there WILL be some, or even many, areas of our lives that we can give more of.  Whether it be belongings, money, time or people. There will be something.

Let's give our everything. 

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