Prepare yourself to discern what is and what is not of God today. Still yourself so you can hear how God is calling you.
Ruth 1:6-18 (NRSV)
Then she started to return with her daughters-in-law from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the LORD had considered his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she had been living, she and her two daughters-in-law, and they went on their way to go back to the land of Judah. But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back each of you to your mother’s house. May the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The LORD grant that you may find security, each of you in the house of your husband.” Then she kissed them, and they wept aloud. They said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. Even if I thought there was hope for me, even if I should have a husband tonight and bear sons, would you then wait until they were grown? Would you then refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, it has been far more bitter for me than for you, because the hand of the LORD has turned against me.” Then they wept aloud again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
So she 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 press me to leave you
or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people,
and your God my God.
Where you die, I will die—
there will I be buried.
May the LORD do thus and so to me,
and more as well,
if even death parts me from you!”
When Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.
Loyalty. What does it mean to be loyal to someone? What does it mean to give of oneself for another? If anyone gives us an example of this, it is Ruth.
What’s the big deal, someone might ask? She went with her mother-in-law instead of going back home to her parents. The big deal lies in the culture of that time. A woman alone was basically relegated to poverty. Naomi knew this. The death of her husband and her two sons meant that she would be destitute for the rest of her life. If she kept her daughters-in-law close, they would become destitute, too. They all knew this.
So, when Orpah went back home, it was the smart move. But Ruth was different. From everything they could see at that time, going with Naomi meant a terrible life for Ruth, but she was determined to share it with Naomi rather than let her face it alone. She was willing to sacrifice her life, her possible future, for the sake of her widowed mother-in-law. How many of us know what it is to make a true sacrifice?
Holy One, remind us what it means to love another. Help us to remember that willingness to give of ourselves for others is a sign of the truth of our love. May we be ready to sacrifice our own wants or needs for the good of others. Amen.
Go with God.