Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. – Ruth 1:6 (ESV)
When Elimelech left Bethlehem with his family, he had no idea he was laying the foundation for one of the greatest love stories ever told. His sons each married a Moabite – one named Orpah and the other Ruth. Over the next ten years or so, they lived as one big happy family. Elimelech’s wife, Naomi, nurtured her young daughters-in-law as they grew into womanhood. We don’t know exactly what happened during that time, but we do know that a bond grew between the three women that would not be easily broken. When Elimelech died, Ruth refused to leave Naomi even though it seemed that her life would be better if she returned to her own family.
This story provides a beautiful example of how God can use what appear to be daily routine and mundane activities to prepare you to do His will. Frequently, what you do isn’t as important as your attitude while doing it. God calls each of us to relationships. Ruth responded to her mother-in-law because of her relationship. Nurture your relationships today – through a kind word, a kind deed or simply a warm smile.
We discussed earlier in this series about how important relationships are to creating a sustainable living. The story of Naomi is an interesting one – it begins with such tragedy. In the first five verses, Naomi loses her husband and her two sons. She’s left with her daughter-in-law, and despite the opportunity for Ruth to return to her family, Ruth stays with Naomi and even travels to Naomi’s people with her. We learn in Ruth 1:16 that she is committed to Naomi’s God – our God. Her commitment is based on her commitment to the Lord.
How do you demonstrate God’s commitment in your relationships? I remind myself constantly when dealing with my family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances that God is a part of the relationship and I should honor Him with my words and actions. It’s not always easy. If I’m dealing with someone I perceive to be difficult, I don’t always handle it well. Yet, I know where broken relationships can lead – so I work hard to nurture relationships – even with those I have a difficult time with.