SCRIPTURES: 1 Samuel 3:1-18
BOTTOM LINE: God is ushering in Change w/in the of His Church in our Culture today. Are we Eli or are we Samuel? We all have a role!
QUESTION: How do we continue to be a growing, thriving, Gospel centered, Disciple producing church in the midst of all the Change in Culture?
Samuel was miraculously born to Hannah, who had been barren, and immediately she dedicated his life to serving the Lord. As soon as Samuel was old enough, Hannah took him to the Temple to serve alongside Eli (The priest) and prepare for God’s journey for her son.
Eli and his 2 sons had allowed the people of God to fall away from worshipping God, and this was a season where God is about to usher in change. Change in leadership (Eli and his 2 sons are on their way out) and Change in the state of worship amongst God’s people.
God calls Eli in a dream, and Eli goes running to Samuel saying, “you called?” Nope, go back to bed. Again 2nd time and then a 3rd before Eli knew it was God calling Samuel. Samuel had yet to learn how to recognize God’s voice, so Eli shared w/ him how to do so, and sent him back to bed. Once God called again, Samuel answered God, Here I am Lord! Speak, Your servant is listening.
Hello????? We could all learn from that response to God huh?
Samuel then lies awake all night, because God told him Eli’s sons would be removed from leadership and Eli and his family would be replaced. Samuel knew when Eli woke up, he’d come straight to him to want to know what God said … and that’s when Samuel reluctantly shared God’s message.
Eli heard God speak to him as well thru Samuel, and willingly poured into Samuel and ushered in the change God brought for His people.
Eli may not be the Hero we often paint in the story … but 1 things for sure … he succeeded in his role of enabling CHANGE … He was the one God used to transition between the PAST and the FUTURE … where the OLD could once again become NEW …
Honestly … I think Eli served God well … maybe not the Hero some might want … but he had his junk just like many of us do too … and yet he had enough faith to guide a young boy who was seeking answers to questions about God.
We need more people like Eli in the world … those who are less concerned w/ being the Hero and people who can guide the leaders of tomorrow … we need people who will as James says in his book, “show by the way they live their good life that their works are done w/ gentleness born of wisdom.”
We need more Eli’s … and think about Samuel … does he become the Hero that Eli is not? Maybe …
After Samuel had been a prophet of God for many years, he had sons of his own … his sons ironically were also … worthless according the Scripture … just like Eli’s … and Samuel ultimately was faced w/ the very same judgment of God in his own family that Eli was earlier … and near the end of Samuel’s life … his role came full circle back to Eli’s role … and Samuel was charged w/ facilitating and transitioning from the past to the future … and so an old man, Samuel anointed and mentored a young leader named David as the King.
Church today for many just isn’t what it was when we grew up … in 2014, the average Christian went to church 1.3 Sunday’s per month … people’s life and social groups, etc… aren’t centered around Church and Church activities like it used to be … people aren’t spending nearly as much time reading and growing in God’s Word as they have in previous seasons … and it’s Changing whether we like it or not in some ways … but the question I keep asking is this … How do we continue to be a growing, thriving, Gospel centered, Disciple producing church in the midst of all the Change?
How do we listen for God’s Voice … see what He’s doing around us and what He’s calling us to do … and become more a part of that … and rekindle and flicker the flame of not only God’s presence in our lives in some ways … but fan the flame and be a part of God’s light in the world?