So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed. I Sam 3:9
This week for our weekly children’s ministry group I told the story of Samuel and his mother Hannah who earnestly sought God’s favor for a child of her own. After thinking that he had a drunk woman on her hands Eli the Priest, after hearing her story, said to her “go in peace. And may the God of Israel give you what you’ve asked from him.” 1 Samuel 1:17 (CEB) She did and eventually gave birth to Samuel and out of gratitude to God, gave him back to God, and Eli, to serve in the Temple.
The theme for the story out of this Old Testament passage was… listening!
I had the kids hide their eyes as I walked around the room and made various noises – pulling a carafe out of the coffee pot brewer, tapping a pencil on a plastic tub, and the like. They were accurate in their guesses!
As I went through the exercise I knew that it was hard for them to sit still and listen to the sounds. They had been in school all day and probably had some sugar and caffeine. But it also became very clear to me that adults too have trouble listening because of all the external and internal stimulation and noise we encounter on a daily basis.
My oldest loves making movies, he has done a few shorts for class projects and even entered one in a competition and netted an excellent rating! I have helped him on a few occasions and know that ‘quiet on the set’ is essential for the segment being filmed to have the quiet it needs to be done.
Eli told Samuel three times “it was not me that called you” before he realized that God was speaking to Samuel. Eli, as one reads the passage, had lots of noise in his own life that needed to be quite.
I am both encouraged and challenged to say ‘quiet on the set’ of my soul so that I can hear God, and others, better.