Psalm 127 tells us that "children are a heritage from the Lord" (v. 3). This truth is reflected in the Old Testament story of Hannah, who experienced infertility. Hannah went through deep grief because she couldn't have children, but in her grief, she did the right thing: she talked to the Lord about it. And the Lord answered her prayers and gave her a son.
She named her son Samuel, which means God hears or God answers, because, she said, "I have asked for him from the Lord" (1 Samuel 1:20). She wanted to be reminded of her answered prayer every time his name was called. "Hey, God Answers, it's time for dinner."
Not only that, but Hannah went to the tabernacle and told Eli the priest, "For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord" (vv. 27-28).
Now, that's a strange thing to say, isn't it? Because, truth be told, God lent that child to Hannah; she was really only a steward of Samuel. But she told Eli, "Here's my kid. I'm going to lend him to God." In other words, "I am giving him over to the service of the Lord. I'm going to bring him to live at the tabernacle from a young age so he can be a prophet in training for the Lord."
At baby dedications at our church, parents often make Hannah's declaration their own; in a sense, they are lending their child to God in hopes that the child will walk with and serve the Lord all the days of their life.
That was Hannah's greatest desire: that Samuel follow God's call for his life. Her number one goal for her child wasn't that he go to the best schools, be the smartest in his class, or make the varsity team. Now, those things aren't bad in and of themselves, but Hannah was focused primarily on spiritual things—that Samuel would serve the Lord all the days of his life.
Each child is a special creation of God. And if you're a parent, you are a steward of your children for a period of time, to lead them and help shape them. As someone once said, kids are the only earthly possession you can take with you to heaven. So take some time today to look at your life and ask yourself, How can I train my children to follow hard after the Lord, just as Hannah did with Samuel?