Reading the book of Ruth in the Bible is a refreshing experience. It is short enough to be easily read in one sitting and the content is heartwarming. Many applications for our modern day lives can be made of the timeless truth found in these few short pages. One of my favorites is simply the loyalty between Naomi and Ruth. There were others who made the choice to go with what seemed more logical. But even when her own sister turned back, Ruth plodded relentlessly after her mother in law. Bereft of her husband and childless in a society that looked down on the married woman with no offspring, Ruth allowed her love and loyalty for Naomi to propel her into an uncertain future that unbeknownst to her would include her in the ancestry of Messiah.
How amazing that God reached into the life of a refugee Gentile, Jewish by choice and by loyalty, to find someone to cooperate with His plan to bless the entire world with a Savior! Did she have any comprehension of all God had planned? Not in a million years. All she had was her ironclad declaration of intent: "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God."
May the Lord bring us to a similar place in our commitments. May friendship and loyalty once again draw us away from the fickleness promoted by the self centered entertainment industry.
May we be courageous enough to stand by those we love even though we may disapprove of their behavior. May we faithfully exert the influence God has given us to change them (and us!) for the better. Remember; God placed you in their lives for a reason.
His purpose may not be readily seen nor easily grasped. But given time and proximity His will is made clear. If we remove ourselves from someone's life the influence God intended for us to exert becomes difficult if not impossible.
Richard Orrell, Lead Pastor