THE EIGHTEEN-YEAR LOAN
(1 Sam 1:27-28) "For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. 28 "Therefore I also have lent him to the LORD; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the LORD." So they worshiped the LORD there.
When you think of loans these days you think traditionally of thirty or fifteen or maybe five. Nowadays loans are so fancy they can stretch out to forty or seven or whatever you can work out with your lender. But have you heard of the eighteen-year loan? No, it’s not for a house. It’s not for a car or a boat or anything like that. This eighteen-year loan is for your child! You have eighteen years to raise your child, all the while reminding yourself that they are on loan from the Lord.
Hannah couldn’t have children. This distressed her so much that she took it to the Lord and left it with Him. She told the Lord that if He blessed her with a child she would give him back to the Lord to serve Him. And guess what? In the process of time she had a baby boy. She named him Samuel and when he was old enough she brought him to Eli the high priest at the house of the Lord. She gave testimony of how the Lord answered her prayer. She also made good on her promise. She said since the Lord granted her a child she would now grant him back to the Lord. She was lending him to the Lord because she realized her child was on loan by the Lord.
Parents, we have such a short time, if you really think about it, to influence our children for the Lord. Soon they will be going through the graduation line and will be on their own. They might still live with you, but your job is complete as far as rearing them in their formative years. And how time flies during that time! When my kids were young it seemed like I’d be a parent forever. But when you’re on the downside of the hill things really gain momentum and the finish line is right in front of you.
Usually when something is paid off you feel great and you rejoice. You say it’s finally yours to keep. But when that child loan is paid off it is time to give that child back to the Lord. The Lord has plans for that child. We did our best and now the Lord will do the rest. We are to rejoice and hear the Lord say “. . . Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful . . .” (Mat 25:21)
To any young couple we would say to cherish your children. It’s so challenging when they are young. Then it seems to get easier in the middle. Then parents will need encouragement for when their children hit their teen years. But the greatest thrill comes when that loan is paid off and they come back to you and say, “Thanks for everything you did, mom and dad.” That’s the pink slip, baby! That’s the payoff because it paid off. What you really didn’t know is that all those payments in those eighteen years was really an investment loan that will reap dividends the rest of your life as well as the life of your child.
I love the way God’s economy is, don’t you? “. . . It is finished . . .” (John 19:30) Paid in full!!