Samuel: A model of Responsiveness

This month’s Characteristic of a Christian Steward is Responsiveness. November’s Biblical Role Model is Samuel.

by Deacon Tim Sullivan

SamuelSamuel, of the Old Testament, is an excellent example of service in response to God’s call. His mother, Hannah, was for many years unable to bear a child. Finally, when God answered her persistent prayers and Samuel was born, Hannah took him to the temple and left him there, after dedicating him to the Lord.

In Samuel’s youth, he ministered under the guidance of Eli. One night, as he lay sleeping, the Lord called out to Samuel. Samuel, thinking it was Eli, went directly to his mentor. This happened several times, until finally Eli told Samuel that it was the Lord who was calling out to him. When the Lord then called to Samuel again, Samuel gave the response that has now become so well known in Judaism and Christianity: “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”

Samuel spent the rest of his life listening and responding to God’s instructions. As stated in 1 Samuel 3, “The Lord was with him, not permitting any word of his to be without effect.”

Samuel traveled throughout Israel to perform his duties as a judge. His prayers and sacrifices on behalf of Israel routed the attacking Philistines. He selected and anointed Saul as the first king of Israel. When Saul did not completely carry out the Lord’s instructions in a battle against Amalek, Saul fell into disfavor with Samuel. The Lord then sent Samuel to Bethlehem to choose a new king from one of Jesse’s sons. Samuel knew that the Lord had not chosen any of the sons initially presented, until finally David was brought in. Samuel anointed David, who was promptly filled with the spirit of the Lord.

The challenge for all of us is to emulate Samuel by listening for God’s communication and having the courage and trust to follow His instructions.

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