Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor was the word of the LORD yet revealed to him. I Samuel 3:7
I Samuel 3:1-9
Though Samuel had been ministering in the temple of God for some years, he still didn’t know the Lord. He read the scrolls, but it was just a closed book to him, and he never received a word from God through it or from it.
It is possible to be serving in church and not know the God of the church. You can be so faithful and overburdened with church activities that you can miss the place of building and enjoying an intimate relationship with the Lord. When you don’t have a close relationship with God, your service to Him will simply be done religiously and by rote. Like Martha in the bible, you will be concerned and distracted with so many cares and you can easily fall into carnality, being sense-ruled rather than Spirit-led.
Thus, much more than service, you should strive to have a relationship with God. God created us for fellowship; He gave us the Holy Spirit so we can continue to fellowship with Him. However, it is our responsibility to sustain that relationship by making out time to seek Him and walk with Him as well as work for Him.
This passage is also an indictment against Eli. What sermons was he preaching? Was he rightly dividing God’s word? Was he making disciples? Why should one who has been in his church for at least two years (see I Samuel 2:18-19) not know the Lord? These are questions you should also ask yourself as a teacher of God’s word in any capacity (Sunday school, children’s church, home fellowship, teens teacher, pastor, etc.), and ask God to help you teach His people to know Him intimately. And if we have been exposed to sound doctrine and teaching, we should ask ourselves why we still have a shallow relationship with God.
Pray for grace to live a balanced life – to seek to know and walk with God intimately; and also to serve Him and work faithfully for His Kingdom.