Being a mother takes sacrifice. Hannah was desperate to become a mother, so why when God gave her a son did she give him back to God?
Have you ever wanted something really badly?
Have you ever wanted something so badly that it’s all you can think about, you desire it, dream about it, talk about it share your need for it.
When I was younger I really desperately wanted a Mr Frosty. I don’t know if you have ever come across Mr Frosty. it was basically a big hunk of plastic that you put ice cubes in its hat and turned a handle, added some fruity flavourings and it basically made a crushed ice slushy.I badly wanted a Mr Frosty I think from about probably the age of 4/5 it went on my Christmas list and for a number of years I think it went on there every Christmas. I can’t remember now if one of my cousins had one or not, but I just thought this was the most fantastic thing and I really wanted it. So I kept asking. I can’t remember if I did eventually stop asking or I realised that my life was carrying on without one and that was okay, when on my 18th birthday I opened up a present and what did I get I got a Mr Frosty because mum said it’s something I’ve always wanted and so she finally bought me a Mr Frosty. I love that gift I love the thought that mum knew me so well she knew that that’s what I’d wanted when I was younger it might be a trivial thing to want but it was something I wanted and I eventually did get it
Is there something desperately that you really want?
Hannah’s desire for a child
In the Bible there is a story of a lady called Hannah. Hannah didn’t have children and she really wanted to. She was really sad about it and her husband was concerned for her – Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
But Hannah knew what she wanted. Hannah and her husband and the whole family had Gone to the temple to offer their yearly sacrifices and Hannah had got up in her longing and desire and had gone into the temple of the Lord and she made a vow to God saying Lord Almighty if he will only look on your servants misery and remember me and not forget your servant and give her a son then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life and no razor will ever be used on his head” and she kept crying and crying to the Lord just full of of desire for what she wanted and felt she needed. As she was praying Eli one of the priests the high priest, saw her lips moving and thought she was drunk and he said how long are you going to stay drunk and she’s like I’m not my lord I’m a woman who is deeply troubled I’ve not been drinking I was pouring out my soul to the Lord I’ve been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.
and Eli says to her go in peace may the God of Israel grant you what are you have asked of him. in due course Hannah did actually become pregnant and she gave birth to a son and named him Samuel and Samuel sounds similar to the Hebrew word heard by God and so she calls him Samuel because she says I asked the Lord for him.
We’re going to look a little bit more about Hannah and Samuel and what we see of parenthood love and sacrifice so we’re gonna continue her story by reading from 1 Samuel chapter 1 starting at verse 21through to 28.
Parenthood – love and sacrifice
The title I gave todays talk was parenthood – love and sacrifice, but maybe a better title might actually be parenthood – loving sacrifice.
Raising a child can and does require loving sacrifice. Great parents do give up things in order for their children to grow and develop well.
To help us think about that a little bit I have a little quiz
How much sleep do you parents give up? These options are for the number of nights before the child reached one year of age. is it 25 nights, 78 nights, 133 nights or 265 nights. The answer is 133 nights.
How much does it cost to raise a child? Is it £2000 £20,000 £200,000 £2 million? According to him and ask her on the times it’s just over £200,000 to raise a child from birth to the age of 18
According to the official office of national statistics how much of a parents time each day is spent on childcare and housework? Is it 60 minutes, 158 minutes, 252 minutes, 381 minutes? the answer is 252 minutes.
Final question what proportion of parents pay towards the cost of their children’s house? is it 1/5 of parents, half of all parents, 2/3 of all parents or 4/5 of all parents. According to the website I was looking at apparently 2/3 of parents contribute in some way towards their child’s property.
Parenthood involves loving sacrifice of your own needs for the sake of your child.
When I was younger I thought the story of Hannah giving Samuel up in service to God was a strange story. She was desperate for a son, but she gave him back to God. Why would she sacrifice that?
It’s true parents sacrifice many things for the love of their children, to provide for their needs but why was Hannah’s sacrifice to only raise him until he was three and then give her child to God’s service? I think I found this strange because I didn’t fully understand the motivation behind Hannah’s sacrifice.
I’ve come up with three reasons why Hannah gave Samuel back to God. Number one she was able to sacrifice raising her son at home because she had faith in a loving God. Her heartfelt prayer came from a place, yes of desperation, but to a God who she believed would listen to her and care for her.
Secondly I think she sacrificed raising her son because of her gratitude to God for answering her prayers. She recognised that the gift of her son was just that a special gift and that God had provided her what she had most wanted. Which was why she was able to offer him back to God.
When we take up the offering we normally say Lord, all things come from you and of your own do we give you. This is gratitude and that’s what I think enabled Hannah to give her son back to God.
Thirdly she was able to entrust Samuel into Gods service because she was faithful to her father God. She had made a vow and she followed through. She could have said her prayer, received her son and then done nothing about the promise she had made to God. And yet she was faithful. Obedient in return.
The story of Hannah really struck a chord for my mum. My mum and dad were married for seven years before I was born and mum told me once that she never felt she could say the same prayer as Hannah because she couldn’t give me up. My mum desperately wanted to be a mum but she never felt she could give me up like Hannah did. We were having this conversation once and I said but mum that’s exactly what you’ve done. You brought me up to know and love God and sent me off into the world to serve him.
By Hannah’s sacrifice Samuel was going to be brought up in Gods house. She was ensuring him a future of walking closely with God
Remember our verse at the beginning? Come my children listen to me I will teach you the fear of the Lord’
That’s what my mum did for me and what Hannah did for Samuel.
We are not all parents here this morning but I believe On this Mothering Sunday that we can all learn from Hannah’s example?
I think there are at least three things:
Gratitude – have an attitude of gratitude. Know that we are Gods children that we are his. That is the place that we’re starting from. Show gratitude to our parents, carers and those that through loving sacrifice give of their time and resources to help us.
Importance of teaching and nurturing faith in our children – And that all of us can play a part in the nurturing of faith in our children but also for each other.
God’s faithfulness and plan
Hannah’s story shows us that we love a God who is faithful to his people, has a plan and provides for their need Samuel became a great prophet in Gods plan for providing for his people when they desired a king.
We can all learn from the story of Hannah, to be grateful to our loving heavenly parent, to look out for where we can help our children and young Christian’s to grow in faith and to be assured of Gods faithfulness and plan for all his people.