This passage covers
Ruth and Naomi. Shortly after Naomi's
sons married, they and her husband died, leaving Naomi with two
daughters-in-law and not much else. She
told her daughters-in-law to return to their people so that they could be
married again, since they were young.
One agreed. One refused. The one who refused was Ruth, and she vowed
to make Naomi's God her god and Naomi's people her people. With that, she and Naomi traveled back to the
place where most of Naomi's family lived so that they could find Naomi's
kinsman redeemer to fulfill a family obligation to Naomi (in this case, by
marrying Ruth). The one who was first in
line did not want the job. Enter Boaz. He satisfies the kinsman redeemer law by
marrying Ruth, ensuring Ruth and Naomi would not have to live the lives of
beggars or starve to death.
THINK: Here, the book challenges us to reread the
passage, thinking about who we might identify with: Naomi - the one who belongs in the land; or
Ruth - the younger, foreigner. And it
you are the person you identified with, how does it feel to hear or say the
term daughter? (Again, this was unusual
because of their differences in nationality.
might God be saying to you about the "strangers" in your life?
might God be telling you about the places in your life where you feel like a
PRAY: Thank God for how he provides for those who
are strangers and aliens, that he isn't partial to just one group. Ask God how you might partner with him in
LIVE: In the quiet, consider God's attentiveness to
all people. Is there someone specific he
brings to mind? Today and in the next
few days, look for opportunities to pay attention to the stranger in the same
way God does.
I know this post is
late. While I was reading it, I was
having a hard time thinking of what I would say. I should've known better than to think that I
had anything to say that would be of any benefit. I should've just been obedient and sat down
to write, because, then, I'm sure, the lesson God needed me to see would've
come into glorious clarity.
There have been many
times when I have felt like the stranger, like the outcast who didn't fit
in. From 8th grade until I graduated, I
felt like that in the church & youth group I attended. By the end of my 11th grade year (if I
remember correctly), I had finally gotten so fed up with watching other kids
come to our youth group and then leave because they felt the same way I did,
that I decided to do something about it.
I started introducing myself and asking the kids to sit with me in the
section where the youth group sat during church. Up until then, I had refused to sit with the
youth group since they seemed to have no use for me. But, apparently, I seemed to realize that
there was no way I could hope to make these new folks feel welcome and like
they were a part of the group, if I didn't place myself IN the group along with
I have to admit that
I only started this because I wanted to show everyone that it really wasn't a
big deal to make someone feel welcome. I
thought, surely, if they saw how easy it was just to go up and introduce yourself
to the new person, they would catch on.
Apparently this was not to be the will of God for my life at this point
in time because one day, I decided to test my theory. I decided that, it didn't matter if someone
new showed up that day at church, I was going to stay glued to my seat and not
say a word.
wanna know what happened?
speculated that there must be something bothering me since I didn't get up and
the immortal words of Charlie Brown:
didn't they just do it themselves!?!?!?!
I would like to say
that, since then, I have not fallen into the trap of allowing new people to go
unnoticed. I could say it; but I'd be
lying. Sometimes, I'm just distracted by
my own business. But that is a lame
excuse. Our church is also a pretty
decent size, so it's easy not to be able to get to all the new people all at
once. However, that is just an excuse,
too. Sometimes, I just want to come in
and see who I want to see and talk to who I want to talk to and not have to try
to be so welcoming or go through the
awkwardness of finding out that the person I thought was probably new had
actually been coming for several months and that all of my friends had talked
to them weeks before I got around to them.
In short, I allow my own insecurities and convenience and comfort level
get in the way of being obedient to a call God placed on my life back when I
was in high school.
I also think that
seeing this about myself is probably the reason why I've had so many things
come up since I was supposed to publish this entry. If I don't address this issue in my life, or
if I just try to take it at face value by saying, I don't know any strangers…,
then I don't have to worry about having to do something with what God has shown
me. But then, if God has already shown
me, but He just needs to remind me and I keep ignoring Him, then I have to
admit that I am just being rebellious and choosing not to obey. Either way, I am in the wrong and have to ask
me wonder why I had to try so hard to learn the lesson from high school about
did I try so hard to learn what God was trying to show me about my time of
outcast in high school?
was I thinking?
know what I was thinking. I was
thinking: there has to be a reason for
all this, that all of this is still going on, and I have to get to the bottom
So, here we
are! Let me encourage you: take the challenge. See if you can recall a time when you felt
like the stranger, like a foreigner. See
if you can remember how good it felt to know you were being brought into the
fold. Then, ask God for a chance to let
someone else feel same feeling because you decided to make that stranger into a