Message From The Pastor – February 2020
Greetings and may God’s peace be with you,
There are so many beautiful stories in the Bible that illuminate the word “faithfulness”. One that stands out is the story of Ruth in the Old Testament.
This story unfolds the beautiful relationship between a mother in law and her daughter in law. In this story Naomi, the mother in law, and Ruth, the daughter in law, both shared loss and a future of uncertainty. Naomi’s husband and two sons died after they had been living in Moab. Upon their death, Naomi decided to return home to Bethlehem. Accompanying her on her journey were her two widowed daughters in law, Ruth and Orpah.
Naomi begged her daughters in law to return home to their own countries because she could not offer them anything. Orpah decided to return home. But, Ruth refused and insisted that she continue on the journey with Naomi to Bethlehem.
In Ruth 1:16, she replies, “Don’t urge me to abandon you, to turn back from following after you. Wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” I stopped to think about Ruth’s pledge. Ruth boldly declares to Naomi that she – Ruth had established a covenant between her and Naomi, her mother in law. It was a covenant that Ruth intended and pledged to keep until death separated them.
There are a lot of thoughts that came to mind after I reflected on this story. I thought about the relationship that these two women had. Both women had great respect for each other and respected their roles within the family. They appreciated each other’s presence in the family and had trust and loyalty to each other. And they had genuine love for each other. All of this reveals the depth and quality of these two women’s faithfulness to one another. It’s not always easy to establish a good relationship with our in-laws.
Perhaps Naomi and Ruth felt at odds at times, especially at the beginning, because of the uncertainty of their journey. The first time we come to God, we may experience the same uncertainty. Some of us took a long time to know, understand, and experience God’s grace. But once we experience God through the means of grace, we fall in love with God. Things start to happen. We come to respect God and appreciate his presence in our lives. We believe and trust him but most of all we obey and love him. Nothing can pry that love out of our hearts. Without questions, we faithfully serve God. We venture out and do the things he expects of us.
Ruth did this when she was homeless and hungry, venturing into Boaz’s field to gather scraps of grain to so she and her mother in law would have something to eat. Ruth’s journey into the grain field was done out of dedication and love for Naomi. But it would also mark the start of a new and wonderful journey for her. Ruth and Boaz’s union would form part of Jesus’s earthly lineage. This foreign girl who gave her loyalty and love to another human being would be blessed beyond her imagination.
Our relationship with God can be challenging and uncertain. At times, we may think we have nothing of significance to offer Him which can cause worry and anxiety. But God has a way of revealing his grace to us in so many forms. All we have to do is have faith and take that step forward to harvest that grace. Sometimes it may appear to be small and irrelevant but know and believe that the hands of God are ingrained in those little blessings. Know that God is always faithful to his creation and he is forever present.
May the blessings and grace of the Lord Jesus be with you always.
Pastor Sela Rousseau