When the child was weaned, Hannah took him to the Tabernacle in Shiloh. They brought along a three-year-old bull for the sacrifice and a basket of flour and some wine. After sacrificing the bull, they brought the boy to Eli. “Sir, do you remember me?” Hannah asked. “I am the woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord. I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they worshiped the Lord there.
(1 Samuel 1:24-28)
Samuel was probably three years old—the customary age for weaning—when his mother left him at the Tabernacle. By saying, “I give him to the LORD,” Hannah meant that she was dedicating Samuel to God for lifetime service. She did not, of course, forget her much-wanted son. She visited him regularly. And each year she brought him a robe just like Eli’s (1 Samuel 2:19). In later years, Samuel lived in Ramah (1 Samuel 7:17), his parents’ hometown (1 Samuel 1:19-20).
To do what she promised (1 Samuel 1:11), Hannah gave up what she wanted most—her son—and presented him to Eli to serve in the house of the Lord. In dedicating her only son to God, Hannah was dedicating her entire life and future to God. Because Samuel’s life was from God, Hannah was not really giving him up. Rather, she was returning him to God who had given Samuel to Hannah in the first place.
These verses illustrate the kind of gifts we should give to God. Do your gifts cost you little (church attendance, a comfortable tithe), or are they gifts of sacrifice? Are you presenting God with tokens, or are you presenting him with your entire life?
Do you tend to take the comfortable, easy route in your walk of faith? Ask God to show you what sacrificial gift you can give, and to give you the courage and strength to follow through.