Who is the Father of Your Child?
There are hundreds of churches around the world which are struggling because of a lack of leadership. Every year there are preachers who decide to no longer preach and many others who, because of failing health or advanced age, no longer stand as God’s messengers. Add to this the fact that death takes many from us. The truth is that the number of preachers who graduate from our colleges and schools of preaching are not replacing those who no longer preach. It is a serious problem in the church.
Consider also the fact that even more churches are suffering because of a lack of qualified elders and deacons. Many congregations which in time past had elders no longer have them. There is a diminishing number of men who take seriously the work of serving as deacons. How has all of this come about?
The Lord’s plan is very simple. It is for godly parents to fully understand their place in rearing their children to lead His people. We think of our children as being ours, but such is far from the truth. The Jews took what they thought were their children and actually sacrificed them to idols. How did God see this? “You have slain My children and offered them up” (Ezek. 16:21). Our children are not ours but His. They are God’s before He gives them to us. “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord” (Psa. 127:3). We receive our inheritance from the Lord when we are in our twenties!
Hannah understood this. She was no different from the way many of you were. When in your teens you thought about your future—who you would marry, where you would live and the children you would have. Hannah’s plan had not come about, for though she had a husband she had no children and agonized in prayer that she might have them. God heard her prayer and gave her Samuel. She gave him back to God by giving him up while he was so young. Her words? “For this child I prayed and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord” (1 Sam. 1:27-28).
The leadership problem facing the church is serious because we have lost sight of His plan. It has come about because we no longer see our children like those in the past saw their children. Parents, I urge you to change your view of those precious little ones in your home. They are not your children but His. How we view them drastically changes how we raise them. Every time Hannah called Samuel by name (his name means “a gift from God”), he was reminded of the fact that God had given him to Hannah so that she could give him back to God! How does this differ from you and your children?