Friday, February 27, 2009

Broken Bible Stories: Yes Lord I Am Listening (1 Samuel 3:1-21)

Once upon a time, there was a woman named Hannah. One day she told God that if He gave her a son, she would enroll him in the nursery and raise him as a good Baptist his whole life. God gave her a boy, and she named him Samuel and had him in the nursery promptly at the age of six weeks.

The boy grew and grew and as he grew he attended church every time the door was open. He attended Sunday School and Vacation Bible School and Bible Drill and Mission friends and even went to church when the weather was bad! And so time went by and Samuel practically lived at church.

.....

One Sunday, when the boy Samuel was about thirty, he got to church early as usual. Only the pastor had beaten him there and was practicing his message in the sanctuary. As Samuel walked into the church, he noticed that the floor in the entryway was dirty.

“Someone needs to vacuum this mess up.” he thought to himself.

Then suddenly a voice rang out, “Samuel!”

Samuel made his way into the sanctuary, where the pastor was still rehearsing.

“Did you call me, Brother Eli?” he asked.

“Why no, Samuel, I’ve just been practicing my message.”

“Well, Brother Eli, while I have your attention, the entry way is a mess. You need to get someone to clean that up before services.”

.....

Some months later on another bright Sunday Morning, Samuel was making his way to Sunday School when he noticed several children running through the halls.

“Someone needs to keep those kids under control,” he thought to himself, “they never seem to have any supervision.”

“Samuel!”

Samuel turned around to see who called him and noticed the pastor walking away down the hall.

“Yes, Brother Eli, you called?”

Brother Eli stopped and turned around. “No, Samuel, I didn’t call you.”

“Oh, well, while I have your attention, this church needs some serious work in the children’s department. You need to see about getting some more teachers around here. The kids are running wild!”

.....

A few weeks later, on another Sunday morning, Samuel was walking through the halls after church when he noticed a bulletin board that had not been changed in as long as he could remember. The paper had begun to fade with time.

“Someone needs to change that board.” he thought to himself.

“Samuel!”

This time the voice sounded as if it was whispered right into his ear. He turned sharply, but no one was there. Where was that Brother Eli?

He found him in his office getting ready to head home for lunch.

“Did you call me, Brother Eli?”

“No, Samuel, again I did not call you. Why do you keep asking me that?”

“Well I was just noticing that no one keeps the bulletin boards current around here when I thought I heard you call my name…”

“I think I may know what is going on here,” said Brother Eli with a glint of recognition in his eye, “the next time you hear your name called, answer Yes, Lord, I am listening. See if God is calling you.”


Epilogue:

After that, God was finally able to get through to Samuel, and he never had another complaint about his church again. He learned to recognize that God showed him the problems God had prepared for him to address and that sometimes no one else had been given that insight. He began to do a lot of ministry in the church and the church grew as others joined him in the ministry. A few years later he wrote a book entitled “The Prayer of Answer: or ‘Yes, Lord I am listening’” became a church growth expert and made a lot of money. The last time I looked they even had bracelets and golf balls imprinted with YLIAL. You can buy them at your local Christian bookstore.

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