Friday, January 21, 2011

The Book of Ruth

I am pondering the story of Ruth, Naomi, Boaz and God.... once again. How well I remember receiving my very own bible in fourth grade. Suddenly I had a compulsion to actually look up the stories that had become familiar in Sunday School. And I found Ruth.

Now, you have to know that there are a LOT of Ruths in our family. It begins with my maternal grandmother, Ruth Amelia. Then she named her three girls Ruth Elizabeth, Ruth Jane, and Ruth Carol. All the girls went by their middle names. But then I came along and I was given "Ruth" as a first name. There was an instant bonding between my grandmother and myself.

My grandmother Ruth was a woman of God who sought to serve friends and strangers in good and bad times of their lives. She taught me about generosity and love of church and about faith (though I couldn't articulate that until I was an adult).

Back to Ruth. From the time I was young I have wondered at the verse, "Your people will be my people and your God my God" (Ruth 1:16-17). Did Ruth really know what she was getting herself into? Did she love and trust Naomi so deeply that she could therefore trust her God? Did she really "know" the God of Israel? We have no real indication of that. Though there is not really much security if Ruth returned home, how did she have the courage to live into an unknown way of life that wasn't secure at all? How? And what did this mean for my walk with God?

Reading the Book of Ruth again this week I am still in awe.... but mostly of God this time. Ruth is faithful to Naomi and God honors her faithfulness. Perhaps another way of saying this for me is that Ruth was as faithful as she knew how to be to the woman she had come to love. Some biblical scholars feel that Ruth and Naomi were manipulative of Boaz. However true that may be, God uses her faithful actions to build the line of ancestry toward the Messiah.

So often we ask "How am I called to be faithful?" Perhaps our answer is "I am to be as faithful as I possibly can (even when it seems inadequate) and God will honor the results."

I promise you won't get a sermon from me each week! Thoughts??

1 comment:

  1. It seems God uses unlikely (and sometimes manipulative) people to accomplish God's purposes -not the people I would have chosen. Sometimes they are faithful only long enough to accomplish what God wants done. I've come late in life to understand the only thing I can do is to open my mind and heart to God's spirit moving in my path, do things, and let God accomplish whatever it is. Reading the Bible the way we are doing it is revealing to me that God uses a variety of people to keep the story going in the direction God wants.