The Story of Hannah (1 Samuel 1-2)
Hannah was one of the two wives of Elkanah. While Elkanah other wife, Peninnah, bore children, Hannah was childless. Hannah was very downhearted by the fact that she did not have children. Each year, the family would go to the town of Shiloh to worship the Lord, and one year, Hannah cried out to the Lord, asking Him for a son. She made a vow to the Lord, that if He would give her a son, she would return the son to Him, allowing him to be brought up in the temple, living a life of service and dedication to the Lord. God answers Hannah’s prayer, and she gives birth to a son that she names Samuel. As soon as Samuel is weaned, Hannah takes him to the temple, fulfilling her promise to the Lord.
Hannah’s strengths as a servant leader center on her integrity, perseverance, and acknowledgment of others. Hannah demonstrated integrity in the fact that she made a vow to God, kept her promise, and did not delay in fulfilling what she promised. Her perseverance in prayer and waiting on the Lord was allowed her to work through her anguish and grief in order to see God manifest that which she desired. Further, once Hannah was fortunate enough to have a child, she gave credit to God, who was singly responsible for her change in circumstances. Hannah exhorts the Lord in 1 Samuel 2, where she acknowledges the work of the Lord, and boldly declares that “it is not by strength that one prevails,” (v. 9).
Hannah’s weaknesses in leadership were primarily due to her letting the negativity of others influence her actions and her sometimes highly emotional reactions. In 1 Samuel 1:6-7, when Hannah is provoked by Peninnah, she is irritated to the extent that she is tearful and cannot eat. Hannah’s highly emotional tendency is also demonstrated in 1 Samuel 1:8-10, where she is described as downhearted and bitter. Being influenced by negativity and being highly emotional is a negative for a servant leader because it is during these times when someone could seek immediate solutions to their problems instead of being steadfast and resolute to seek God’s plan. As a servant leader, one must be able to limit the influence of negativity and control emotional impulses which could delay or even hinder the manifestation of a long-term vision.