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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write something suitable for CHILDREN (05/31/07)

TITLE: Samuel
By Lisa Holloway


When I was very little, my mother held me tightly and kissed me. She prayed that God would bless me. Love shined in her eyes. Then she turned and walked back down the steps of the temple, but I didnít go with her.

I donít remember much, but I saw her look back and wave just once. I felt a hand placed gently on my shoulder, so I looked up. The hand was strong and belonged to a very big man named Eli. His eyes were kind. When he looked back at me like that, I wondered if he knew how scared I was, or how much I already missed Mama.

Mama loves me and always told me I was Godís gift to her. But as we journeyed that week beside the loaded donkeys, she seemed happy and sad at the same timeóand she hugged me a lot. That morning, she pulled me into her lap (we donít do that any more now that Iím big). She was quiet for a while, then she told me that when God gives us a gift, the very best thing we can do to show that we like it is to give it back to Him.

That didnít make any sense to me. If Mama gave back the clay bowl Iíd made all by myself, I would think she didnít like it.

She said Godís funny that way. She says He likes it best when we hold our gifts out to Him with open hearts and let Him show us what to do with them. She says it gives Him joy, and thatís always a good thing. If we love someone, we want to give him joy, even if it makes us sad for a while. Eli says the same thing.

Then she reminded me that I am Godís gift to her. And she told me that before I was even born, she had made God a promise. She had promised God that if He let her have me, she would give me back to Him to keep. Itís all because she wanted the chance to love me so much.

Now that Iím big, I belong to God. I still miss Mama, but I see her every year when she comes to Shiloh to make the sacrifice. Sheís always so happy and so proud. She gives me nice, new clothes to wear that she made herself.

But I see tears in her eyes when she thinks Iím not looking. She holds me close for a little while before I go back to help Eli at the temple. And she always stops to watch and wave as I go, just like that first day.

Sometimes itís hard to give back the gift, but Mama showed me how to do it. I hope God can do good things with Mamaís gift somedayóand that I can give God joy, too.

This story is based on the account in the first couple of chapters in 1 Samuel. While Samuelís exact age isnít given, he had been weaned, so cultural norms of the time suggest that he was at least three years old, possibly older. Since there was no priestly provision for children under three in terms of food, this seems a reasonable assumption.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/08/07
I like this treatment of the "Samuel" story. It seems like he might have felt just that way.
Rita Garcia06/11/07
A great way to teach children His word! Well written!
Beth LaBuff 06/11/07
This was very good. I thought you captured a lot of Samuel's thinking and Hannah's as well. I like Samuel's analogy of relating the "giving back" to the clay bowl he gave to his Mom. Your flow on the story is good and very smooth. You are a good writer.
julie wood06/13/07
Great story--Little Samuel came alive in it and the concept he had to learn was very interesting--about how giving something or someone you love back to God is different from returning a gift to a human giver. A creative, original slant on the Samuel story!

I was also drawn in by the title, as personal names always spark my curiosity. Great job!