Friday, December 14, 2012

Jesse Tree Day 14 - Samuel

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.

At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. -- 1 Samuel 3:1-3

One of the oldest ways to learn a trade or a profession was to serve as an apprentice. Samuel was an apprentice to Eli the priest, learning what he would need to know in order to follow in Eli's footsteps. Samuel was growing into it, having been following this path from his infancy when his mother dedicated him to God's service after her prayers to be released from barrenness and to bear a child.  Samuel was the answer to those prayers and so his mother took him to Eli to raise and train. It worked out; Eli had someone to teach and to serve him, Samuel had a mentor and teacher.

Where the story stops is just the beginning of Samuel's journey. We remember the story of Samuel's hearing a voice and, thinking it was Eli, went to him to see what Eli needed. Of course, Eli hadn't called and it took several repetitions for it to finally catch that it was God calling Samuel. Eli told him to answer "Here I am, Lord," and, of course, the rest is history.

Answering calls with "Here I am" is something we do often without thinking. A mother calls a child who is just out of sight and the child returns to her side with "Here I am, Mommy."  We may not always give those precise words, but the intent is there.  Many in the Bible have, however, used exactly those same words in response to God.  So have many who have answered God's call through the thousands of years since Samuel.

What can I learn from Samuel?  I can always ask "Who me?" or I can answer "Here I am."  God doesn't always call the people I would expect, but then, God often raises the called to do what is needed. I need to hear and respond when called to whatever it is I am supposed to do.

Answer the call.

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