This morning in my bible time, I decided to read the book of Ruth. It has been years since I learned this account and thought it was time for a refreshing. Well, let me say, God can use some of the tiniest of things to make the largest impacts on us.
In our culture and society, Mother in law is a phrase filled with negative connotations. It is a phrase that one rarely uses in a positive manner. If you read the account of Ruth, however, you will find a stark contrast to our view of this role.
When Naomi’s sons and husband died, she was left alone with her two daughter in laws, Ruth and Orpah. She decided it best to send them both back to their own families where they may meet future husbands. After a tearful goodbye, Orpah left and headed back to her own family. Ruth however begged to stay with Naomi. She said….
1:16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 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.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
Ruth was determined to stay and care for Naomi. Wow, that is HUGE! This goes completely against our “live for me” society today. This woman had nothing. Naomi was sacrificing her needs to take care of her mourning mother in law. They had no food, home or money. In fact, once they returned home, Naomi called herself Mara because she believed God had caused her misfortune. One could interpret her to be bitter and angry at God for the loss of her family. But RUTH stayed.
Not only did she stay but she went and found work. She went and worked diligently to provide for Naomi. She also respected her. She took her advice and through it they were not only fed but had left overs.
The left overs part struck me… Not only did God bless her for sacrificing but he provided MORE than enough.
There are many, many lessons to be learned through the account of Ruth. Of course, the most obvious and most important is the parallel of Boaz being the kinsman redeemer to our very own kinsman-redeemer who bought us.
But reading this story was a challenge to me today in other ways. Being married into a family with differing beliefs, I wonder if I am showing Christ to my own mother in law. Am I truly acting and reacting as Christ would. It is easy for me often times to walk away and grumble in my spirit but should I not maybe stay. I am challenged today to STAY! I mean instead of trying to avoid the uncomfortable awkwardness, maybe I should stay and be an example of Christ’s love.
Being an Orpah and going home to my security and comfort zone is the easy way out. But today God is challenging me to be RUTH. Sacrifice myself and my needs and be Christlike to a mother in law that is in need of Christs love.