“And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men” (1 Sam. 2:26).
The childhood of Samuel was characterized by a bright influence in a dark time. Things would become even darker for the nation while Samuel grew from boyhood to manhood. However, Samuel’s influence would grow stronger through the years. The great power of God is seen in that a child can have a tremendous influence over a people. The Bible is filled with great illustrations from the influence of children. Consider three lessons found in the text of the Bible.
- Humility. Jesus used a little child to teach his disciples a needed lesson. “And he said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3-4). The innocence of childhood is often marked by humility of spirit. Jesus revealed that such a quality is key to entering into heaven. This childlike spirit is never to be lost.
- Helpful. A little maid (cf. 2 Kings 5:2) gave great news to the wife of Naaman’s wife. “And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy” (2 Kings 5:3). This young girl could have been silent or even given false information. However, she was helpful in the greatest degree. Children often combine their humility with helpfulness. They truly have a volunteer spirit. They are often eager to do for others when a request is made of them. The smallest of tasks do not burden them. They are sharers of their thoughts freely. Many years in the future a little boy will provide his food that Jesus might feed the multitudes (cf. John 6:9-13). The little maid and the little boy were none the worse for sharing needed things. Such an influence did not go unnoticed by the Lord.
- Harmless. Paul exhorted the congregation at Corinth with these words, “Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men” (1 Cor. 14:20). The congregation in Corinth needed to have several problems resolved. There was division (cf. 1 Cor. 1:11; 11:18), pride (cf. 1 Cor. 4:18), open immorality (cf. 1 Cor. 5:1), brother taking brother to court over small matters (cf. 1 Cor. 6:1-4) and much more. The childlike spirit of no ill will sought against another is to be true of the spiritual body of Christ: His church. God’s people are to be peacemakers (cf. Matt. 5:9), not hateful (cf. Titus 3:3) and complainers (cf. Phil. 2:14). Paul wrote to the Philippian brethren about how to walk in the world, “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15). Jesus told his own disciples, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16). When the age of innocence is over through the maturation process, the age of retaining childlike qualities is never to be over. The foundation of great influential qualities seen in a child is priceless and irreplaceable. Sometimes all need to look at the world through the eyes of a child and see the simplicity of a pure life. There is truly an endearing quality in children that draw adults to them.