Happy Independence Day! I hope all of my American readers are having a wonderful 4th of July! I have a very special treat for you today. Quiana blogs over at Written Lives (go check it out!), and wrote an article for us. Tune in next week for part two!
Quiana is an extremely talented author. I was first drawn to her writing on theReb when I read about how, after WWII, Germans were led through death camps and shown the horrors that had happened there. Quiana took this analogy and directly applied it to abortion, saying that we should not turn a blind eye to the daily loss of life, that instead we should weep for the unborn and then use that energy to fight for life. Quiana retells history in a captivating way and then shows her readers how the story makes a difference in their own lives. The article she wrote is powerful, interesting, and straight-to-the-point. I can’t wait for you to read it! Enjoy!
The sandy soil between Ruth’s toes was hot. The sack of grain, though small, was growing heavy. The wind did little to cool her and the chaff it stirred made her cough.
She picked up the last of the barley grains which were scattered at her feet and slowly straightened up. Ugh! How her back ached! With a sigh, she wiped the sweat from her brow and sat down at the edge of the partly harvested field.
Her eyes wandered to the other women. They were also stopping for a break. The group made their way towards the shade of a little tent, chatting as they walked. As soon as they reached the shelter, they began to pass a large jar of water around. Ruth watched from afar, a fresh wave of loneliness washing over her. She longed for company almost as much as she longed for a sip from that water jug!
Ruth returned to her work still hot, still tired, and still thirsty but she couldn’t afford a longer break. The men were already well ahead and the few grains of barley they dropped would soon be whisked away by the wind.
The Life She Chose
The biblical account of Ruth tells of a young woman who first lost her husband and then chose to give up her family and country as well. She did so, to accompany her elderly mother-in-law, Naomi, back to her home in Israel and to care for her there.
It is a story of love, selflessness, and sacrifice — a story with which many of us are familiar. But have you ever stopped to really think about what Ruth did?
In Ruth’s culture, a widow had two options: She would either be given in marriage to one of her late husband’s brothers or, if he had no brothers, she would return to her father’s house. In either scenario, she would be protected and provided for.
However, for some — especially older widows, like Naomi, this security wasn’t available. They had no male relatives — be that father, brother-in-law, or son — in a position to care for them.
Ruth did have a family to whom she could have returned as her sister-in-law Orpah did and as Naomi encouraged her to do. She was offered the company of family, the provision of home, and the protection of her father but Ruth didn’t choose these things.
Instead, she adopted the lot of her mother-in-law; the lot of the uncared-for widow, who had to earn her own way. But that’s not all Ruth did.
Ruth took on the role of provider, not for herself alone, but for her mother-in-law as well, becoming responsible to feed two mouths in a society in which it was incredibly hard for women to earn a wage at all. But this isn’t all Ruth did.
She said to her mother in law, “where you go, I will go” (Ruth 1:16) and Ruth followed Naomi back to Israel—a nation which, being God’s chosen people, was known to look down on people of other nationalities. Ruth became known as “the Moabitess”, yet she held to her promise: “your people, will be my people” (Ruth 1:16). That’s pretty amazing, but that is still not all.
Ruth worked long hours in the hot sun, gathering whatever little grains of barley the harvesters dropped or missed. She worked alone — in danger of being assaulted.
Ruth chose a hard lot.
Orpah Went Home
In a society that insists life is about us, our success, and our happiness, Ruth’s story may sound a bit strange.
Would you be willing to give up your family, home, country, protection, and provision to care for someone else? How about for an elderly lady you knew could never pay you back?
Ruth’s choice isn’t the one our society would encourage. It isn’t the easy choice. It wouldn’t be the common choice.
It wasn’t back in her day either. Remember, Orpah went home.
Nevertheless, Ruth chose it.
Why did Ruth choose to give up what little security she had left? Why did she choose to gather the leftovers from another’s harvest when she could have eaten at her father’s table? Why did she put herself at risk when she could have been safe?
She did so deliberately.
Ruth deliberately put someone else’s needs before her own. She deliberately chose a heavier burden, so she could lighten Naomi’s. She deliberately chose to go hungry, so she could make sure her mother-in-law wouldn’t.
This is love.
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13, NKJV)
This Uncommon Choice, Made For You.
Ruth’s choice reminds me of the choice another made on your behalf and mine.
Another left his home and family, to go to the one he loved. Another picked up a burden, so you wouldn’t have to carry it. Another left his father’s table, to provide bread for you.
His name is Jesus Christ.
Jesus came to where you were. He made your home, his home, your people, his people and he laid down his life on your behalf. Now he asks you to follow in his footsteps.
Will you choose the harder way like Ruth? Will you answer the call of Jesus to lay down your life to serve others?