Mine really does rock … she has treated me as her own daughter from the first time we met. And though we don’t always agree, I am thankful every day for her. She is a wonderful mother, a fabulous Nana, and a compassionate daughter. But, even with all that, if my husband had passed away and she told me to go back to my family, I would do just that.
When I read the first few verses of Ruth, I find myself understanding Orpah’s decision and relating to her. Going back to what was familiar, where was familiar, who was familiar. Returning to her mother’s home rather than building a new home with her mother-in-law. I imagine many would make that same choice.
Ruth’s story is so compelling, her love for Naomi so amazing, because she left her home, her family, the only life she’d ever known to accompany her mother-in-law to a place where she would be unwelcome if not totally ostracized. Yesterday, Julie beautifully described the qualities in Naomi that likely caused Ruth to make this most bizarre choice.
Today, I want to consider a few ways Ruth expressed her loyalty to Naomi and some practical applications we can find for our lives.
- Ruth stayed, even when the reason for staying was gone. Though her husband had died, Ruth chose to stay with Naomi. How often are we guilty of leaving a relationship too quickly, without allowing God to work on us and through us? We serve a relational God and we need to be committed to building and sustaining relationships … even when the people we are around have become bitter and difficult.
- Ruth journeyed with Naomi. The journey of life is full of twists and turns, ups and downs, and yet the people who come alongside us are important to the fullness of the experience. We need to invite people to join our journey, accept the invitation of others to join them, and share the paths of life together.
- Ruth provided for Naomi. Ruth met social, emotional, and physical needs for Naomi. As we journey, we need to be need-meeters. Far too often, the Body of Christ fails in this area. Helping others, providing for others, is a duty for the believer and it is also a blessing. We must be diligent in this pursuit … seeking opportunities and embracing them as they come.
- Ruth respected Naomi. Certainly they had diverse backgrounds and there was most certainly a generation gap, and yet Ruth treated Naomi with the utmost respect. We must be respectful – kind, courteous, and gracious – to others if we are live in the fullness of life in Christ.
Certainly we can learn much from Ruth’s example of loyalty to Naomi. Traveling life’s road with others can be difficult … but it is also a beautiful gift we are given. How have you been blessed through your relationships with others?