Discover His heart: He blesses the sacrifices we make
The story of Ruth and Naomi reminds me of the selflessness portrayed in the story of the Gift of the Magi by O. Henry that we often read at Christmas. It is the story about a desperately poor young couple, Jim and Della, who want to buy gifts for one another at Christmas. The husband chose to sell his prized gold watch to buy ornate combs for Della’s beautiful long hair. Della cut and sold her beautiful long hair to buy a gold chain for Jim’s prized watch. Both had sacrificed their most valuable treasure because of the deep love they shared. Their story reflects the gifts of great value given by the wise men to baby Jesus and God’s most valuable treasure, His Son, that He gave to redeem us. Out of love, Naomi and Ruth, too, selflessly gave to one another the only gifts of value they possessed.
@ Ruth 1
“With her two daughters-in-law she set out from the place where she had been living, and they took the road that would lead them back to Judah. But on the way, Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, ‘Go back to your mothers’ homes. And may the Lord reward you for your kindness to your husbands and to me. May the Lord bless you with the security of another marriage.’ Then she kissed them good-bye, and they all broke down and wept.” (7-8)
All three women had lost their husbands. Widows of that day were often neglected and lived with little provision, especially older widows who could not work. Naomi gave up her daughters-in-law who could have cared for her in the years ahead, giving them the freedom to marry again in their own land.
“Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.”(16-17) The young woman, Ruth, gave up her freedom to marry again so that she could remain with Naomi and provide care for her in the days ahead. Not only did Ruth love Naomi, but she had come to serve the God of Naomi. How could she ever turn her back on Him!
Sometimes circumstances in life ask us to make a personal sacrifice of our own desires and goals to help fulfill the dream or calling of another because of our love and commitment to that individual. And sometimes God requires us to put aside our own desires to accomplish His higher purposes – His eternal purposes. When we choose the difficult road of sacrifice, not only are we blessed in the doing of it, but we open the door to future blessings we cannot imagine.
“So Boaz took Ruth into his home, and she became his wife. When he slept with her, the Lord enabled her to become pregnant, and she gave birth to a son. Then the women of the town said to Naomi, ‘Praise the Lord, who has now provided a redeemer for your family! May this child be famous in Israel’…And they named him Obed. He became the father of Jesse and the grandfather of David…” (4:13-17) And from this lineage came Jesus!
Who would have thought that the offspring of this lowly Moabite widow would one day deliver royalty into the world! Not only did God reward Ruth for her unselfishness when He provided a husband, a wealthy one at that, but He also extended the blessing on her children for generations to come – something beyond her imagination.
We don’t know how God will use the sacrifices we make for Him and for others, but if we do it with the willing heart of Ruth and not grudgingly, He will bless our lives in ways beyond our imaginations.
Moving Forward: I’m even more grateful today for the supreme sacrifice He gave at Calvary. It calls me to a willingness to sacrifice all that I am and all that I have to fulfill His eternal purposes.
Tomorrow @ Psalm 27-29