That is my short description of Ruth's story.
No wonder Ruth is a favorite book of the Bible for women worldwide.
Not only was Ruth living in dark times when people chose to do whatever they wanted, but she came from a people group known for harming and not helping a foreigner.
When Ruth said to her bitter mother-in-law, Naomi, "Where you go, I will go. Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God...," one can't help but wonder if she was looking around her to see how messed up her people lived.
When people live their lives based on what they see is best for self without considering those around them the community will always hurt.
I imagine that Ruth's determined statement was born from the fact that Ruth knew the reality of this truth. The one person that showed her the One True God was leaving. She had observed that the One True God gives blessing through calling His people to holy living. Ruth knew she could not stay. It did not matter that Naomi was bitter. For even in Naomi's bitterness she was taking into consideration what would happen to her daughter-in-laws. Her bitterness was better than with those that did what was right in their own eyes.
You can't help, but respect such courage and determination. Ruth as the younger widow in that moment declared by her decision to go that she would be a present help to her mother-in-law. It would have been the expectation that the younger person would care for the elder and since they were widows this would be taking on the man's responsibilities as provider. That is alot of responsibility.
Ruth didnt wait for life to happen. She was a strategic thinker that planned ahead by asking her mother-in-law permission if she could go get food by gleaning in the fields. She was willing to do back breaking barley and wheat gathering from what fell off as the harvesters worked. This meant she would be stooped over picking tiny grains off the ground. My back is hurting just thinking about it.
She wasted no time. As soon as they arrived in Bethlehem, she found a field and asked permission to glean and then she went to work. We are told she only took a short rest. No one could call Ruth lazy. This girl had a "get the job done" work ethic.
When Boaz approached her and spoke kindly to her, she bowed in humbleness and admitted that she was a foreigner and a servant below his own servants.
She recognized his favor and showed gratitude. When Boaz invited her to join his harvesters, drink his water, and eat with him, she joined in and partook until she was satisfied. But what is more amazing is she saved back some for her mother-in-law. Her being satisfied did not stop her from thinking of others. She remained faithful and consistent in her character of serving. It wasn't a show. It was a reality of her core character.
When Ruth returned home that night, she told her mother-in-law everything that happened that day after showing the bounty of what she gleaned. Even though she was now the provider and had a full stomach, she did not get prideful. She remained a servant acting as a covering over Naomi obediently working the harvest season until the very end. She lived out what her words said on the road between Moab and Bethlehem.
Ruth was a woman of holy excellence. No wonder women love her story. In her own right, she modeled Christlikeness in her willingness to serve and not be served. Just as Christ provides a covering over us as our suffering servant, Ruth lived out a covering over Naomi so that she found refuge. God used Ruth to be an instrument in delivering Naomi from her bitterness to position of praise and hope. Everyone needs a family member like like that in their lives.
How might God be challenging you in your life? Yes, you can be a guy and be challenged by these character traits because character at the core is not a male or female thing. Character at the core is either holy or unholy and that is not male or female. It is either right or wrong.
I have learned that character and consistency will reveal a person's core character. You cannot hide what is inside you. It is observable.
What character qualities are revealed by your life? If we could hear of your story, what might be told? Would it be described as one who did what was right in their own eyes? Or would it be described as as someone who served others and considered them better than themselves as they served?
Ruth humbles me because I know I am a work in progress. She was too. I catch myself asking, "Am I acting as a love covering for _____ or am I just covering me?"
I admit that it is easier to do for some than others.
The reality is those around us will see and we will discover that blessings will come. In serving others, we will be satisfied and able to serve them more even if it is a bitter mother-in-law or you fill in the blank ______.