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Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.

At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!”[a] and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. The Lord called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” – 1 Samuel 3:1-10

Things are busy around Bayshore this week. Vacation Bible School begins on Monday, and staff and lay leaders alike are moving at a frenetic pace to get everything ready for the awesome week we know is ahead! Stage props are being constructed, rooms are being decorated, movements to worship songs are being practiced, and hearts and minds are being prepared to minister to children. We embrace this work and busyness each year, because we know the impact it can have in the life of a child. This is the week, after all, when families from all around our community entrust their kids to Bayshore to provide care and spiritual direction.

As I memorize my lines and prep for the games I’ll lead at VBS, it’s my prayer that I (and all of our leaders) can be like the priest Eli who helped the boy Samuel recognize the voice of God in his life. I believe God is speaking to everyone each day, but we must have the spiritual awareness to hear and listen. Kids (like all of us) have so many voices in their lives, both good and bad, that it can be very difficult for them to know which ones to listen to. Next week, as we point kids to the truth of the Bible and the unconditional love of Jesus, I have faith that many children will come to recognize the voice of God just a little bit better. It’s humbling to think that God has invited us to join Him in shaping the faith of the next generation and helping them to say in their own hearts to God, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”