April 08, 2021
A tenacious love is the most precious gift possible. Those who are the recipients of such undying affection are the most blessed. And those who give undeterred loyalty are the most rewarded.
Ruth was a Moabite woman who married an Israelite man. This man and his father both died, widowing both Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi. Naomi decided to return to Israel and urged Ruth to stay in Moab, where she had family and friends. But Ruth “clung to her.” Her commitment to her mother-in-law sprang from a heart of profound love and gave us one of the most endearing expressions of genuine love in the Bible.
But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back 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 I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17)
God noticed this heartfelt vow. He rewarded her love by returning to her what she was giving to another. Through a Divine orchestration, Ruth’s loyal affection is noticed by Naomi’s nearest relative, a wealthy Israelite man named Boaz. When he sees Ruth following his field hands to glean some wheat for herself and Naomi, he is struck by her humble servanthood.
Boaz replied to her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth and came to a people that you did not previously know. May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.” (Ruth 2:11-12)
Ruth had taken the next right step of determined loyalty to Naomi. Her decisions to serve Naomi not only brought help to her family but led to her marriage to Boaz and caused her family to become a part of the lineage of the greatest Israelite King (David) and the ultimate King of heaven and earth, Jesus.
Your decisions to love God and love others are noticed and rewarded by the One who loves us with an ever-lasting love. You represent Him well when you show the world His covenantal love. And the God who is the source of this Divine affection is pleased.
Father, thank You for loving us like this. As You have come to live in me through the grace of Your salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, I ask that you “shed abroad your love in my heart.” Make me a channel of determined loyalty and love to others. And when it is noticed, help me to point directly to You as love’s source.
March 29, 2023
As a pastor for the last 55 years, I have had the joy of being encouraged and blessed and prayed for by so many people. It is what carries you in your task of shepherding people. As I look back over five decades of ministry, their love has dramatically enriched my life.
But also, a pastor leads. And when anyone leads, there are almost always some who disagree.
March 28, 2023
March 27, 2023