What Ruth Teaches Us About Love

 

In honour of Valentine’s Day, I want to draw your attention to one of the most romantic stories in the Word of God…the story of Ruth and Boaz. It’s a Cinderella story of a Moabite girl who had nothing but a servant’s heart. Yet, by God’s matchmaking grace, she became one of a handful of honoured women mentioned in the genealogy of Christ. 

Here’s what Ruth teaches us about love.

 

Love does not seek its own.

After Ruth’s husband died, her Jewish mother-in-law, Naomi, encouraged her to remarry. She told her, “Go, return each to her mother’s house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.” (Ruth 1:8) Now that the famine had ended, Naomi was planning to return to Israel.

Yet Ruth knew that Naomi would need an able young person to help her. It was no easy task to make the long journey and to find food and shelter. Ruth made up her mind to return to Israel with Naomi, and nothing could discourage her. In one of the most memorable speeches in the Bible, Ruth said,

“Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17)

With these words, Ruth not only declared her loyalty to Naomi, but she also expressed her faith in Naomi’s God. Even though she was a Moabitess, she had embraced the God of Israel as her own. No wonder she had such remarkably selfless love! Her devotion to Naomi motivated her to give up her own future to serve her mother-in-law.

Like Ruth, we ought to seek the good of others first.

 

Love serves.

When Naomi and Ruth reached Bethlehem, barley harvest was just beginning. According to Jewish custom, impoverished people could gather the leftover grain after the reapers had collected most of it. This provided food for those who could not afford it. 

Because she and Naomi needed food, Ruth began to glean in the field of Boaz. She worked tirelessly from sunup to sundown. On her shoulders rested the burden of providing for herself and her mother-in-law. Yet the Bible never records her complaining or doubting God. Instead, she faithfully served Naomi with a sweet spirit.

Like Ruth, we ought to serve others unselfishly.

 

Love is kind.

Although the Bible doesn’t come right out and say it, the story of Ruth looks very much like love at first sight. When Boaz noticed Ruth in his field, he asked the supervisor, “Whose damsel is this?” (Ruth 2:5) 

After learning her identity, he approached Ruth and showered her with unexpected kindness. He told her to keep gleaning in his field and offered her protection. He shared his food and water with her at mealtime and even ordered his servants to drop extra handfuls for her on purpose. 

For a wealthy landowner, this was highly unusual behaviour. However, Boaz recognized her integrity and courage. He told her, “It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband…The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.” (Ruth 2:11-12) At our Baptist church in Cape Breton, we want to keep trusting God, too.

Like Boaz, we ought to show kindness to others.

 

God rewards true love.

After finishing the harvest, Ruth went back to live with her mother-in-law. Perhaps she lay awake at night, wondering what her future held. Yet, God had a wonderful surprise in store for her.

In Ruth chapter 3, Naomi advised Ruth to go to Boaz and reveal her true identity. According to Jewish law, the closest relative of Ruth’s husband could marry her and take over her husband’s property. Because he was a near kinsman, he could have that right. However, he might not want to marry Ruth. What if he had other plans?

Ruth followed Naomi’s counsel and approached Boaz humbly. Surprised, he told her, “Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter…And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.” (Ruth 3:10-11) 

After ensuring that he was the closest willing relative, Boaz took Ruth to be his wife. Soon after, God blessed them with a son, whom they called Obed. This son would someday be the father of Jesse and the grandfather of King David.

Like Ruth and Boaz, we need to love others even if it looks like we’re on the losing end. True love is not looking for a reward. Instead, it’s seeking to be a blessing to others. Jesus told His disciples,

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke 6:38)

At our Baptist church in Cape Breton, we want to give to others without expecting anything in return. That’s what Jesus did for us!

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Will you love others as Ruth did? Join the friendly church family of Northside Baptist Church on Sundays at 11:00 am. 

For more information, call 902-304-4707 or email northside1178@gmail.com  
 
AUTHOR BIO: 
Claudine Broussard is a Cape Breton based musician, the social media director of ForwardMarketing.ca, and coauthor of Seeking Jesus: Stepping Into a Life of Bold Surrender, Freedom, and Deep Joy.


7 Characteristics of Christlike Love

 
 

As God’s sons and daughters, He wants us to be transformed into the image of His Son. Although we cannot have His infinite wisdom or power, we can develop His humility, His kindness, His joy, and, most of all, His love. What does Jesus’ love look like? Here are several key descriptions that we’ve taken from the classic love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13. 

Read on to learn 7 characteristics of Christlike love.

Read more…



Learning to Love in the Classroom of Conflict

In every relationship, every family, and every church, there is conflict. To be honest, most of us don’t enjoy conflict. It’s messy and uncomfortable. It exposes our weakness and makes us feel vulnerable. 

But God can use conflicts to make us more like Jesus.

What lessons can we learn in the classroom of conflict?