New Hope Church has enjoyed a rich season tracking through the Old Testament book called “Ruth.” It is the beautiful, dramatic, and yet simple story of two widows seeking to find their way past hopelessness, despair, and grief. If you have not done so, let me urge you to read the Book of Ruth, and listen to the eight messages presented throughout this past fall. You can find them here.
From the exploration of the Book of Ruth arise at least five simple but poignant conclusions. First, stories of the marginalized matter and add weight and purpose to our lives. Naomi, the refugee. Ruth, the immigrant. Two grieving widows, impoverished and isolated, living in the margins of society. From whom among the marginalized in our society are you learning?
Solidarity between God-fearing women and God-fearing men only enhances God’s redemptive plan; it does not threaten it or diminish it. Ruth and Boaz certainly prove this out. Each one stands tall all alone, but together they are a powerful force for God’s glory and the good of society. To what extent are you willingly forging a blessed alliance with people of the opposite sex so as to further Kingdom-purposes?
Even in darkest times–and certainly the days in which Ruth lived were dark (see the Old Testament Book of Judges for confirmation of this)–God is at work fulfilling His purposes through people of faith. This is certainly true in our times. In what way are you letting the light of Christ shine brightly in the dark corner in which you live?
Our suffering matters and equips us to shape the world beyond us. Naomi suffered greatly, but could pass along to Obed, her adopted son, that things God taught her regarding endurance and faith. To what extent are you allowing your own suffering to positively shape the future that stretches out in front of you?
Finally, a life of sacrifice has a curious way of making us more satisfied and purposeful. Can you believe Ruth willingly gave her only son to Naomi so that Naomi could be cared for by him and her family’s name could continue through the generation. What an incredible sacrifice (and what a wonderful hint at the gift of Jesus, God’s only-begotten Son!)! For whom are you willing to live a surrendered life?