The book of Ruth in the Bible is only four chapters but it teaches us so much. In the story Naomi is a Jewish woman married to Elimelech. Together they have two sons: Mahlon and Kilon. Their sons are married to Moabite women: Orpah and Ruth. Naomi’s husband passes and years later both of her son’s die. Naomi urges her daughter-in-laws to return to their families in their homeland. Orpah take’s Naomi’s advice but Ruth refuses to leave Naomi’s side.
Before the current era, the world was not a nice place for widows. Women couldn’t inherit property, they lacked full citizenship rights that were only allotted to men. The road for Naomi was surely to be one of difficultly. She points out in the passage that she is too old to remarry and she worries about her future. She urges her daughter-in-laws to move on with their lives, find new husbands and have a better future than what she can offer.
Chris Tomlin wrote a song called “I will follow you.” It’s about our relationship with Christ and cites the passage from Ruth as the example we should follow:
“Where you go, I’ll go.
Where you stay, I’ll stay.
When you move, I’ll move.
I will follow you.”
If you don’t know the biblical reference, Ruth’s words are listed below. Ruth 1:16 NIV
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. Ruth choose Judaism and her mother-in-law over everything she had known growing up. Ruth would rather chose an uncertain path than lose the family she had come to know.
Ruth and Naomi are examples of the perfect agape (self-sacrificing) love that Jesus has for us. If we are really going to get serious about being Christians, we are called to trust Jesus just like Ruth trusted Naomi. Being a Christian isn’t easy. If anything, when you decide to live for Christ your life will get harder. God calls people to expand their faith and grow as Christians. For many of us that transformation is a difficult process. God allows people to experience trials so that we can grow from them and help others. If you never experience anything, how will you ever relate to the pain of others?
In the New Testament, Jesus calls Christians to “pick up your cross and follow me.” We are blessed to live in America where we have religious freedom. In other countries people die daily for their faith. Very few Americans will be martyred like Jesus’ warning.
Life happens through the things we experience. Some of the experiences are good, some are bad, but all of them make us who we are becoming. People say “you’re not who you’ll become until you’re 25.” I challenge you that you are never going to be a static person. People constantly change and grow from their experiences. At any moment, something you never would imagined could happen will, and it will change everything you thought you knew about yourself.