In his October 1983 general conference address, President Thomas S. Monson, now second counselor in the First Presidency, spoke of labels that often are placed upon people but are misleading. He recited a poet who wrote:
Nobody knows what a boy is worth,We'll have to wait and see.
But every man in a noble place,
A boy once used to be.
"The boy Samuel must have appeared like any lad his age as he ministered unto the Lord before Eli," said President Monson. "As Samuel lay down to sleep and heard the voice of the Lord calling him, Samuel mistakenly thought it was aged Eli calling and responded, `Here am I.' (1 Sam. 3:4.)
"However, after Eli had listened to the boy's account and told him it was of the Lord, Samuel followed Eli's counsel and subsequently responded to the Lord's call with the memorable reply,
Speak; for thy servant heareth.' (1 Sam. 3:10.) The record then reveals thatSamuel grew, and the Lord was with him. . . . And all Israel from Dan even to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord.' " (1 Sam. 3:19-20.)
Further in his conference address, President Monson said, "The word of the Lord to the prophet Samuel at the time David was designated to be a future king of Israel provided a fitting label for the occasion. It certainly was the thought of each faithful member: `Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.' (1 Sam. 16:7.)
"Like a golden thread woven through the tapestry of life is the message on the label of a humble heart. It was true of the boy Samuel. . . . May it ever be the label which identifies each of us: `Lord, here am I.' "
Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the Gospel Doctrine course of study.
Information compiled by Gerry Avant
Sources: Story of the Old Testament, by J.A. Washburn; Studies in Scripture, Vol. 3, Edited by Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet; and October 1983 general conference report.