Have you ever wondered what it must have been like for Ruth? No, not a recent Ruth, but the Ruth of the Bible. I mean, she landed in quite a pickle! So, she was married to someone from a foreign land (probably without any choice) and had to learn their strange ways. At some point, her father-in-law, brother-in-law, and husband died. Her mother-in-law, whom she loved dearly, decides to go back to her homeland…and Ruth follows! She is often revered as an ancestress of Christ and a paragon of womanhood….so, in just what ways can we be like her?
- We can make a profession of faith. In the middle of a difficult and scary situation, Ruth chose God. The oath she speaks to Naomi is a strong statement that she chooses the God of Israel over those she was raised with.
- We can choose to work. Ruth had to work to get to Bethlehem, and she had to work when she got there. The work wasn’t easy, but she didn’t seem to shy away from it, but was diligent in all she did.
- We can remain loyal. When Ruth found the woman she had bound herself to had become bitter and sad, she didn’t run. Even when it became challenging, she stayed with Naomi and served her, trying to make a better life.
- We can choose to give our best. Ruth didn’t have much, but she gave her best effort and did her best for Naomi.
- We can have a good attitude. It seems to have been her manner, her attitude, that first brought her to the notice of Boaz. When they met, she didn’t complain about her lot in life, but was humble and positive.
I think this last one is the one I struggle with the most. I don’t have it bad, but I tend to complain. My life is actually very blessed and fairly easy compared to hers. As I examine myself, I find a tendency to focus on the difficulties and challenges in my life if I’m not careful to zoom in on the love and laughter we have. Without care, my thoughts drift to what I’m missing out on instead of the great things I get to experience. I am full of whining instead of gratefulness.
Ruth entered Bethlehem “at the beginning of the barley harvest”. She arrived during the time of Passover, Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits. This was a time of celebration and gratitude in the land of Israel. It was a happy time. She seemed to join in that atmosphere and allow it to catch her up so that she was also happy, celebrating, and thankfulness. She left behind her grief and allowed God to enter her story to bring her joy. I want that, too. And the great thing is that it’s mine for the asking. As I try to give my best, I can also ask to become more aware of the joy. I can take captive those negative thoughts and ask God to help me focus on things that are lovely and good.