Summary: Hannah’s sacrificial love
Gunthorpe/ Sharrington 10-03-02
Mothering Sunday 10-03-02
Hannah, the sacrificial mother
1 Samuel 1:1-28 and 2:11
Mother’s Day is the day when we thank God for giving us the one person, on this earth who generally has had the greatest impact on our lives.
Mothers are teachers and disciplinarians.
Mothers are cooks and cleaners.
Mothers are nurses and doctors,
Mothers are psychologists and counsellors,
Mothers are chauffeurs and coaches - and even football supporters.
Story: Maddy used to drive Jonny and Chris when they were younger to football in Kandern about 20 miles away, when we were living in Basle, Switzerland. She came so regularly, that at the end of the season, the Kandern football club presented her with a bottle of wine for being their best supporter!!
Mothers are developers of personalities, moulders of vocabularies and shapers of attitudes.
Mothers are soft voices saying, "I love you."
And mothers are a link to God, a child’s first impression of God’s love.
(My thanks to Melvin Newland for inspiration here)
Someone once said “Mothers are the glue that holds the family together.”
But the one great motherly quality I haven’t mentioned comes from our Old Testament reading this morning – self sacrifice.
Mothers have a wonderful capacity for self-sacrifice – putting the good of their children ahead of their own good.
This morning’s Old Testament reading is all about self-sacrifice. It is the story of Hannah – the mother of Israel’s first major Prophet.
And I would like to focus on the great motherly gift that Hannah had – self-sacrifice in the interests of her son.
She was a great woman of prayer who had prayed year in and year out for a son – and suddenly God granted her request.
She wanted the very best for her son. However, the only way Samuel would be able to fulfil his godly calling was to go away from her – to be training at the boarding school of the High Priest Eli..
I am sure as she was weaning him, it must have broken her heart - to know that she wasn’t going to have him much longer – though she would visit him regularly.
However, she was prepared to sacrifice her will for his best. She wanted him to be a man who would serve God wholeheartedly. And the only way he could do this would be to go to the High Priest, Eli for training.
And that sacrifice paid off. Samuel went on the be “The Prophet” in the Land. Politically and spiritually he became the leader of the nation for many years.
All this, I believe because of one woman’s sacrifice.
Story: Recently I came across a true story (in a sermon from Melvin Newland) that happened during the Holocaust of the Second World War.
Solomon Rosenberg, his wife and their 2 sons were arrested, together with his mother and father for the crime of being Jews. They were placed in a Nazi concentration camp.
It was a labour camp, and the rules were simple.
"As long as you can do your work, you are permitted to live. When you become too weak to do your work, then you will be exterminated."
Rosenberg watched his mother and father being marched off to their deaths and he knew that the next would be his youngest son, David - because David had always been a frail child.
Every evening, Rosenberg came back into the barracks after his hours of hard labour and searched for the faces of his family. When he found them they would huddle together, embrace one another and thank God for another day of life.
One day Rosenberg came back and didn’t see those familiar faces.
He finally discovered his oldest son, Joshua, in a corner, huddled, weeping and praying. He said, "Josh, tell me it’s not true." Joshua turned and said, "It is true, Dad. Today David was not strong enough to do his work. So they came for him."
"But where is your mother?" asked Mr. Rosenberg. "Oh Dad," he said, "When they came for David, he was afraid and he cried.
So Mum said, `There is nothing to be afraid of, David,’ and she took his hand and went with him."
I had tears in my eyes when I first read that story.
A mother’s love that was so strong that she would willingly sacrifice her life to comfort her child.
Hannah was a mother with a sacrificial heart.
I see her as an Old Testament model of Jesus.
Jesus showed great mother like qualities of love and sacrifice. Because he died on the Cross for our sakes – so as to bring us back into a relationship with God.
Hannah loved Samuel so much that she was prepared to forgo a mother’s greatest joy – that of bringing up her son and having him around her – so that he could fulfil his godly potential.