“I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.” (1 Samuel 1:27-28)
Whenever I think about Christian parenting, I remember something I heard a youth pastor say many years ago. In his message he asked the parents in our congregation a very important question. “It is your goal to raise good children, or godly children?” Though many of us may not realize it, there is a big difference.
In the Bible there is a story of a man by the name of Elkanah who had two wives: Peninnah and Hannah. Though Peninnah was able to bear children, Hannah was barren. More than anything Hannah wanted a child and she pleaded with God continuously. In her prayers she promised the LORD that if He would give her a child, she would give the child back to the LORD all the days of his life so that he might be used for God’s glory. God heard Hannah’s prayer and He gave her a male child whom she named Samuel.
It’s not hard to imagine the joy and excitement Hannah must have felt once she discovered that she was pregnant. But, as the time drew near for the baby’s birth, one has to wonder if perhaps she sometimes questioned her promise. “Had she been too rash in making such a vow? Did God really expect her to give Him her only child?”
Whether or not Hannah ever had a moment when she questioned her decision we don’t know. This we do know, shortly after the child was born and weaned, Hannah took her young son to the house of God and he remained there the rest of his life.
Some might criticize Hannah and say that she was too fanatical about her faith; yet her willingness to put the Lord first instilled in her son a commitment to God that is found only in a few children.
Again I remind us of the question that a youth pastor asked many years ago. Is it your goal to raise ‘good children’, or ‘godly children?’ May God help each and every parent to raise children who will love and serve the Lord.