As we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth, I am reminded of a woman who, through challenging circumstances, became part of our Savior’s family tree.
Ruth’s story is a beautiful example of many truths regarding our responses to life and God’s provision and sovereignty. As I read the book of Ruth this morning, I felt challenged to take a close look at myself.
RUTH—In spite of very difficult circumstances, Ruth chose to love the way Christ described love—in a self-sacrificing way. After the deaths of her father-in-law and husband, Ruth loved Naomi in spite of her own pain. Her love is seen in the words to her desolate mother-in-law, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me” (1:16-18). Ruth was willing to give up her home and future to care for Naomi.
ME—I have to ask myself, am I willing to love those God has placed in my life with the measure of self-sacrifice Ruth demonstrated? My husband? Children? Parents? In-laws? Aunts, uncles, cousins? Close friends? Do I daily lay aside my desires to demonstrate genuine love and care for them?
RUTH—In Ruth’s time, two widows living alone were at the mercy of the kindness of others. In that time of great need, she chose to serve diligently. She said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain” (2:2). Ruth was willing to follow the servant girls and pick up what the harvesters left behind. This may have been a menial, even degrading task. But prompted by love, Ruth was faithful and hardworking. Her character was noticed by all who knew her. Boaz said to her, “All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character” (3:11).
ME—What is my attitude when I’m faced with menial tasks? Do I grumble, thinking they are below my potential? Or do I serve willingly, realizing it is a test of my true character, as it was for Ruth?
RUTH—She knew that her mother-in-law and the God she served could be trusted. Naomi asked Ruth to go lay at the feet of Boaz. Ruth was not an Israelite, and this custom may have seemed quite strange to her, but she trusted that Naomi was looking out for her best interest. Ruth simply responded, “I will do whatever you say” (3:5).
ME—Do I willing take the advice of those who are wiser and more experienced than me? Do I take God at His Word—trusting that He will always lead me to what is best?
Discovering God’s Plan
As Ruth loved, served, and trusted, God was divinely orchestrating her steps! Verse 2:3 tells us, “As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz.” Boaz was a generous, kind, worshipper of God who cared for all who worked for him. He married Ruth and together they became the great-grandparents of King David. When we see Ruth’s name mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in first chapter of Matthew, we clearly see that God works His divine plan beautifully through those who love, serve, and trust.
Today I’m challenged by this woman who lived so many years ago! I want to love sacrificially, serve diligently, and trust unquestioningly. As in the life of Ruth, I believe God is ordering my steps and working His plan in and through my life—what an encouraging thought!