Thursday, May 14, 2015

Don't Walk Alone


If you have never read the story of Ruth, I encourage you to do so. There are some various passages that refer to some traditions, that unless you know the history and culture, may sound strange or simply be lost as you read. However, the core of the story is easy to understand, and coming across a passage I have wrote about before, I thought I'd share what was put on my heart this time.
Naomi speaks to Ruth (her daughter-in-law) after her husband and only two sons have died (obviously including Ruth's husband), leaving her now alone and widowed with her 2 widowed daughter-in-laws. Naomi is now departing back to be with her people and her homeland and before she leaves speaks:
"And [Naomi] said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” (Ruth 1:15-17 ESV)
This story (and even this passage) has much to teach us, but where I want to land on is simply Ruth's witness she had to God in her mother-in-law Naomi, her mother-in-law. Ruth isn't choosing God based on some good Word she heard at the temple (though she could have). Ruth isn't choosing God because of some divine encounter (though she could have). Ruth isn't choosing God because it was her heritage (which it seems to be likely the opposite as she was a Moabite and likely grew up worshiping other gods including Molech).

Why did Ruth choose God? The reformers respond: because God chose Ruth. Well, I think either theological side can agree regardless of calling that the impact of their relationship was key in Ruth's future relationship with God. We are called to be witnesses, disciples, and to encourage and help ignite others to be disciples for Christ as well. God saves, but we are called to make disciples.

Why did Ruth choose God? I believe because Naomi was an active disciple of God. Ruth didn't have to speak of God, but she did. She could simply have said I will be with you until I die, but she didn't stop there. She could have said that I will be coming with you regardless if you want me to or not, but she didn't stop there. She needed to include that she was now a disciple too, she chose Naomi, but ultimately she chose God. "Your God will be my God now too Naomi."

I hear it often said that we all need a Paul or Naomi that is pouring into us, and a Ruth and Timothy that we pour into. Do you know a Ruth? Do you know a Naomi?

Call them now.

Don't walk alone, and don't let them walk alone.

His,
~Matthew

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