At the beginning of the school year, most teachers make a name tag for each student in the class. The teacher does that to help the students in the class learn one another's names. Your name is very important to you, isn't it? I have heard it said that the sweetest sound to anyone is the sound of their own name. Doesn't it make you feel good when someone remembers your name? Do you think God knows your name? I am sure he does.
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of a boy named Samuel. You may remember that Samuel's mother was a woman named Hannah. She wanted a son more than anything, so she prayed and asked God to give her a son. She promised God that if he would give her a son, she would give him back to the LORD to serve him all the days of his life. God gave Hannah the son she asked for and she kept her promise to God. When the boy was old enough, she took him to the temple and presented him to Eli the priest. So Samuel served in the temple under Eli.
One night Samuel was sleeping when he heard someone call his name. He got up and ran to Eli. "Here I am; you called me," he said to Eli. "I didn't call you," Eli answered, "go back to bed." So Samuel went back to bed. Again the LORD called, "Samuel!" Samuel jumped out of bed and and went to Eli. "Here I am; you called me." "I didn't call you, go back to bed," Eli answered a second time. A third time God called Samuel and Samuel got up and went to Eli. "Here I am; you called me," he said. Finally, Eli realized that it was God who was calling Samuel. He told Samuel, "Go and lie down, and if he calls you again, say, 'Speak LORD, for your servant is listening." Samuel went back to bed and sure enough, again he heard the voice of God calling, "Samuel! Samuel!" This time Samuel answered as Eli had told him, "Speak, for your servant is listening." Some people think that God only calls grown-ups. That is why I like the story of Samuel. Samuel was just a young boy when God called him. God knows your name just as he knew the name of Samuel and God still calls boys and girls today saying, "Come, follow me." So, listen for God's call and answer just as Samuel did, "Here I am!"