Sewing the Robe of Discipleship

My family, long-ago in Germany. Yes, mom made my dress,  probably hers, and Kurt's shirt too. 


1Sam. 2:18   Samuel was ministering before the LORD, a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19 His mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year, when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.


Little Samuel was being raised in the presence of Eli’s wicked sons. They were doing things wrong, and stealing food from the sacrifices they were supposed to be making on behalf of the people. In their midst was a precious little boy whose mother was influencing him to do everything right. She brought him a new robe every year so that it would fit properly and he wore the linen ephod, a priestly garment, over the top. This was what he should have been doing and he did it right, when Eli’s sons took short-cuts in everything that they were doing. 

Hannah came back year after year to check in her son and give him a new garment. One can imagine that she encouraged him to do the right things and to serve God faithfully. Surely, day after day, while at home, she prayed for him. While he was not present with her physically, he was always present in her heart. Whether near or far, she was committed to his discipleship. 


I think I’m drawn to this little passage of scripture because my mother made my clothes when I was a little girl. Every year she lovingly sewed a beautiful wardrobe for me. I didn’t know until I was older how blessed I was to have a mother who was a tailor and loved to make beautiful pieces of clothing for me. Hannah lovingly did the same thing for her little Samuel, making him a robe every year so that he could look nice, and that his clothes fit him well. 

Every parent is sewing a robe of discipleship for their child. Hannah not only brought Samuel a physical robe, but she prayed for him, and I’m sure she guided him when they had their visits. It wasn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of a relationship, but one in which she knew she had to adjust the robe, and probably the teaching, for every year of his life. New clothes, new teaching, and a need to continue growing in faith. 

F. B. Meyer in “Our Daily Homily” writes, “By their behavior to each other and to their children; by the ordering of the home-life; by their actions, more than by their words; by the way in which they speak, and spend their leisure hours, and pray — men and women are making the little coats which, for better or worse, their children wear ever after, and perhaps pass down to after generations.” 

Whether we know it or not, we are all making coats for those who will come after us. These are the coats of discipleship and they must continually be remade and adjusted to fit the time and the season. If not, they will be ill-fitting and will no longer serve a purpose. Sadly, if we stop growing in the Lord, our robes will no longer fit and we will be wearing last-seasons discipleship long after it’s gone out of style, now old and tattered. 

Every follower of Christ needs to take care to have a well-fitting robe of discipleship. Then, there is the intentional creation of clothing for our children. This must be clothing that is adjusted year after year so that it fits well. We lovingly provide the opportunities for our those who come after us to wear beautiful coats of discipleship that they will be able to hand down to the next generation. My mother didn’t just make my clothes for me, she became a pattern of beautiful discipleship that I am challenged to wear on a daily basis. It’s time to take inventory of our robe, and the clothing we are creating for others. 


Lord, words aren’t enough to express my gratitude for my sweet mother who has always worn a beautiful robe of loving you.  Amen. 


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