The Book of Ruth

God sent me another reminder today — do unto others…

The Bible opened to the Book of Ruth.  If you have not read it, it is worth the read.  It’s a relatively short chapter and tells the story of Ruth, who stands by her mother-in-law, Naomi, when Ruth’s husband (Naomi’s son) dies.  Naomi begs Ruth to abandon her, and essentially save herself, telling her that she is too old, but Ruth can go on and find a new husband. Ruth refuses.

But Ruth said, “Do not press me to go back and abandon you!  Wherever you go I will go, 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 be buried. May the LORD do thus to me, and more, if even death separates me from you!”

Ruth 1:16-17

Ruth does unto others as she would have them do unto her.  She puts Naomi’s needs above her own.  And she finds the way to happiness for both her and Naomi.  Without abandoning Naomi, she finds a new husband and gives birth to a child, who will become the grandfather to David.  And along the way she helps Naomi, who initially appeared to have given up.  After her husband and then her sons died, Naomi felt that God was against her.  But by the end, thanks to Ruth’s faithfulness, Naomi is being reminded of how great God is:

Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed is the LORD who has not failed to provide you today with a redeemer. May he become famous in Israel!  He will restore your life and be the support of your old age, for his mother is the daughter-in-law who loves you. She is worth more to you than seven sons!”  Naomi took the boy, cradled him against her breast, and cared for him.   The neighbor women joined the celebration: “A son has been born to Naomi!”   They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Ruth 4:14-17

The Book of Ruth told me two things:  Do good for others and good will come to you.  And don’t doubt God’s plan.  It was certainly a hard journey for both Ruth and Naomi, but how important the journey was.

Dear God,

Your plans are great and sometimes mystical to me.  Sometimes, I just don’t understand.  Help me to never give up.  Help me to trust in you.  Help me to put the needs of others ahead of my own, even when doing so seems to be against my interests.  Help me to realize that your interests are my interests.

Amen

Daily reminder

Today the Bible opened to a verse of which I could use a daily reminder.

“But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic.  Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.  Do to others as you would have them do to you.  For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.   And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same.  If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit [is] that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount.  But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.  Be merciful, just as [also] your Father is merciful.

Luke 6:27-36

Sometimes it is hard to do good to those who are good to me, let alone those who are not.  It is easy to get wrapped up in myself and my own needs.

Help me Lord to be more giving.  Help me be good to those who are not good to me.  Help me to remember to pray for those around me — in particular those who have hurt me (and pray more than just “Lord help them not to hurt me anymore.”)  Help me to do good and not expect anything in return.  Help me to show love and mercy, even when I am hurting. And God, please remind me of these words every day.