Thursday February 24, 2011
How would you like to hang around someone who in the course of a few years lost a husband and two sons and when asked her name, she called herself Mara which means bitter. I don’t know about you, but I have known some bitter people and it is truly a drain to be around them. They are negative all the time and the bitterness spews out on everything and everyone they come in contact with. I can only stand a negative bitter person so long and then I have to relieve myself to catch a breath of fresh air.
There is just such a story and most of us are drawn to the person in the story that the book of the bible is written about, namely Ruth. But as I read the book today, I was taken by Naomi who had lost her husband and her two only sons and was going back to her homeland. She encouraged her daughters in law to go back to their homeland because she could offer them nothing where she was going. The two initially said they wanted to go with her, but when she insisted that they go back, Orpah kissed Naomi and went back to her homeland, but Ruth clung to Naomi.
Naomi a third time tried to persuade Ruth to go backhand then we get the famous line, “Where you go I will go, and where 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 there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me be it ever so severely, if even death separates you from me.” Ruth 1:16-17
I have looked at the commitment of Ruth to leave her family of origin to go to a foreign land, but as I was looking at Ruth 1, I began to think of the person of Naomi and what Ruth saw in her to make the commitment she did to Naomi. In the midst of all the pain and loss of Naomi, she exhibited a lifestyle and personality that caused Ruth to be willing to give up her total past life and embark on a new journey with a woman that was her mother-in-law. Now this is a different kind of mother-in-law story from the jokes we often hear. Ruth saw in Naomi a relationship with God that was so transforming in the midst of great loss that Ruth was willing to cling to Naomi even until death (a truly magnetic personality).
I ask myself if there are any people on this earth I would be willing to drop everything and follow that person. Is my life giving off a sweet aroma so that others would want to follow my God? Is my lifestyle one that causes others to drop their lifestyle and desire to experience the life I’m living? Naomi must have been a wonderful person and I would only hope that others are encouraged to follow Christ because of the positive things they see Him doing in my life. Things to ponder as we all are on this journey