Last night was the family service on the theme of Samson and strength.

We had a quiz about Samson. Some questions were fairly easy:

Some were not!

By the end of the quiz, we all knew a lot more about Samson!

Then Stephen preached on his life, talking about the miraculous foretelling of his birth and how the Lord blessed him with great strength. The source of Samson’s great strength was the Spirit of the Lord working in him (Judges 14:19), but as with most gifts, there were potential problems as well. Samson was strong in body and physical strength, but he was weak in judgment and spiritual wisdom. God seems to give gifts not just to bless us but to test us, for He wants to know how we will use those gifts and if we will surrender them to Him. If we are given the gift of creativity or beauty or knowledge, will we acknowledge God in all we do and are or will we become proud and boastful? Each gift carries blessings, but also responsibilities. Samson had the gift of physical strength, but didn’t really learn how to master it. He grew up with indulgent parents and made unwise choices when it came to women. As a result his focus was more on his own comfort and needs than on serving God. He misused his gift because he lived a self-indulgent life and did not have the discipline to seek God throughout. He made life choices based on his own wants, and there were eternal consequences from these choices.

What we need and what we want are usually two different things and Satan wants us to depend on our wants. He tries to convince us that our wants are really our needs. Samson finally learned to rely on God, after he had suffered greatly (having his eyes gouged out by the Philistines and losing his great strength through the cutting of his hair.) God’s strength was channelled through him in his final act of bringing down the pillars and killing the Philistines in his own sacrifice.

Each of us has great potential, but the question remains ‘What are we going to do with our gifts?’ We need to surrender all our gifts and talents to God and involve Him in every aspect of our lives, so that we live disciplined, dedicated lives, not self-indulgent, unchannelled ones.