Can God Get Glory from My Life?
by Dominique Henderson
(Read the entire book of Ruth)
Tucked away in the Bible is a great story of friendship and companionship. In the book of Ruth, Ruth models what most people covet in a personal relationship. Her loyalty, diligence and selfless attitude are to be admired. She reinforces the old adage that has been said again and again“hard work pays off”. What decisions did she make that led to her success? What qualities did she possess that were so remarkable in her day and even now? Understanding that pearls first start as little irritations in oysters allows me to appreciate Ruth’s background. Why? Because she had been through some tough times in order to emerge as this great gem of beauty. Just like the pearl is the result of great difficulty, Ruth endured difficulty. In a culture were widows were disregarded and abused, she and her mother-in-law Naomi thrived. Why is this? What were the traits and characteristics she possessed that caused this? Well, they were the type of things that you rarely see in our modern day “give it to me now” culture.
Ruth’s benevolence catapulted her into favor with God and man, but what were the decisions that led to her success? First, there was her decision to remain loyal to her mother-in-law, Naomi. To me, this is the most poignant part of the story. At a time where anyone would have understood her decision to leave Naomi, Ruth decided to stay. With her husband and father-in-law dead there was no more hope to be found with staying with the family. She may have even been considered foolish for doing so. Nevertheless, Ruth did not consider the convenient or popular way like her sister-in-law Orpah. For all of us willing to stand in the face of tragedy, square our shoulders and wipe our brow, God is taking notice. Not only is God taking notice, people are too. In this case, the scripture says that Naomi grew tired of trying to convince Ruth to leave her (see Ruth 1:18). Ruth made a decision to remain loyal. At this point, I am convinced that Ruth saw something in Naomi that caused her to stay. I think it was more than just feeling sorry for her. With Ruth being from a foreign land that did not serve the true Almighty God, she may have been intrigued and eventually won over by the devotion and commitment that Naomi displayed to Jehovah. This testimony of a life may have been the catalyst that caused Ruth to make the decision to remain with her mother-in-law. We can never discount the influence we carry as ambassadors for Christ. We are testimonies to God’s great and glorious power and we have stories to tell and people to influence.
Then next decision Ruth made was to be diligent. Ruth’s diligence was paramount in this story. After making the commitment to be loyal to Naomi she followed it up with actions and not just words. She went to work essentially becoming the breadwinner for their small household. With Naomi undoubtedly too old to make a living, Ruth took up the slack. She went to work in the fields gleaning from the harvest enough to provide for herself and Naomi. This is admirable. Her attitude was one that took action and did not just settle or look for handouts. Her hard work was just not for her to enjoy either, because she was intent on sharing the benefits with Naomi. When God blesses us with anything our obligation as stewards of the Most High is to reciprocate this in the body of Christ. God doesn’t pass out his resources for the buck to stop with us. He is looking for us to be a blessing to others just as we have been blessed. In the story, her diligence is rewarded as Boaz takes note of her work and gives her special treatment. God always multiplies our resources when we strive to bless others with them.
Then next decision Ruth made was to be selfless. In being selfless, Ruth considered others before she considered herself. From the beginning of the story, she sought to be a blessing to Naomi no matter what position it put her in. Her “others first” attitude allowed her to stand out among all other women. Boaz takes special note of this and it causes him to prioritize the redemption process to save Naomi and Ruth’s household (see Ruth 3:18). When we display God’s character to individuals it will caused doors of favor to be opened to us. Boaz’s actions personify the redemptive process that God demonstrated in his love for mankind. The model is powerful. So powerful that Ruth, you or even I can use it in order to affect change and cause the world to take notice. God’s ability to redeem man from any situation that has caused hurt, pain, or distress is what needs to be shared with the world. The gospel of Jesus--the good news—is waiting to travel to the nations by vehicles like you and I. Our job is not only to say that we are Christians, but to demonstrate God’s characteristics like Ruth did to her mother-in-law. Although I have read this story many times, only this past week have I realized that this picture of God’s powerful redemptive model can be demonstrated by us also. As we each eagerly search for the power to change our darkest night to our brightest day we undoubtedly look for a formula of success that will be the catalyst. Ruth’s loyalty, diligence and selflessness unlocked the door that led to her redemption and so much more. What will be your success formula? The story of Ruth holds the key to finding that formula—God’s way.
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