March 2nd - Ruth
Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever 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. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me." Ruth 1:16-17 (NKJV)
I am of the opinion that it might be easier to die for someone rather than to live for them. Let me explain what I mean. It is a part of human nature to be in control of one's destiny and life. To give up our freedom and to fully commit your life to another is neither easy or natural. Essentially, it is the vow we make when we enter into the covenant of marriage, but too often the vows that we speak so freely are much more challenging to live out. I happened to marry someone who unselfishly serves God, husband, family and friends with incredible consistency. She reminds me of a great woman of the Bible by the name of Ruth.
Ruth made such a covenant with her mother-in-law. Ruth's husband had passed away and her mother-in-law, Naomi, decided to journey back to her own land and people. Naomi strongly urged Ruth to go home to her own people--to get remarried and to get a fresh start in life; but, Ruth was committed to her mother-in-law--and so, she made a solemn vow: "Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you stay, I will stay; Your people will be my people; and your God will be my God; where you die, I will die; and where you are buried, I will be buried." Talk about an awesome oath. Talk about putting another person’s agenda before your own.
This reminds me of the day I told my wife, Jody, that I wanted to move to Texas. Texas was a foreign land to her; 1,600 miles from everything she knew. She didn't question my judgment--perhaps she should have--but, she was supportive
throughout the process. Even when I had my doubts, she continued to be a source of encouragement.
Ruth made good on her promise... She followed through with the oath she made to Naomi. In doing so Ruth demonstrated a rare humility, putting the need of another person before her own. To consider another person's life so important, that you give up your own destiny in order to support them is very Christ-like. I admire Ruth--she is the kind of person I aspire to be. A real friend to my friends--a selfless husband for my wife--a father who goes the second mile for his children--a pastor who empathizes with the needs of the flock--a Believer who denies himself, picks up his cross and follows Jesus. Time to narrow the gap of who I am and who God wants me to be!
Author's Note: I am not "wired" to be unselfish. In my case, unselfishness would truly be a trans-formative work of the Holy Spirit. Jody (my wife) on the other hand is naturally given to serve others. She is a blessing to all who know her. Easy to see Christ's character in the fruit of her life. RJD