Updated: Jun 20, 2018
In preaching through 1 Samuel, we are immediately confronted with the miraculous birth of a little boy named Samuel. The circumstances surrounding his birth direct our attention to his parents and the deliberate choices they make. I believe we see some very basic principles that ought to outline Christian parenting. I want to lay out some basic principles of Christian parenting based on the principles we see in 1 Samuel 1:21-28. As your pastor, my heart longs to see your family defined by these basic Biblical principles.
Strong Leadership - Leadership requires priority and preparation.
In 1:21, we see that Elkanah led his entire family on an annual pilgrimage to the House of the Lord in Shiloh. Elkanah was a man who set the priority of worship for his home. There's not a great deal of details provided about Elkanah and his family, but we know that he led his house to a greater house, the House of the Lord. This would be the equivalent of what we might call corporate worship or "going to church." We would assume that the family held some sort of private or personal religious practices in between the annual gatherings in Shiloh. We do know with certainty that this annual trip was a priority for this family. Imagine for a moment the level of preparation a family journey such as this would take; spiritual preparation as well as physical preparation. Let's be honest, we have a hard time getting our kids to church on time just a few miles down the road. Think about what it would take get the whole family on a multi-day journey, without the use of in-car DVD players and tablets! In 1 Sam.1:24, when Hannah finally takes her young son to the house of the Lord in Shiloh, she doesn't go empty handed. She actually has gathered a three-year old bull, and ephah of flour, and a skin of wine to take with her. Again, worship was priority, and therefore, it required preparation. Worship was not an afterthought or a spontaneous action. The example set before us by Hannah and Elkanah teaches us that faithful parenting requires strong leadership; leadership that sets the priority of worship, and priority requires preparation.
If something is important to you, you will prepare for it. You demonstrate this principle with priorities in your life on a regular basis. You probably prepare for your work day. You probably prepare your kids for their day at school. Maybe on Sunday evenings you think through the upcoming week and prepare for it. I'm sure you prepare to go on vacation, by planning and packing. Perhaps you prepare your vehicle for a road trip by changing the oil and rotating the tires. People actually live by these principles, many folks just haven't applied them to their family's worship experiences. I want to encourage you to begin thinking about preparing for worship.