And she said, “See, your sister-in- law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in- law. But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you, go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you. And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more. (Ruth 1:15-18 ESV)
One of the most touching examples of faithfulness is found in the book of Ruth. Naomi’s husband and sons have died. She is left with her daughters in law Orpah and Ruth. She tries to send them away, back to their homes and their old communities so they can have the hope of marrying again. Ruth however stays. She did not want to go. She loved Naomi. She loved Naomi’s culture and people. She was committed to staying with her and helping her even until the day she died. This kind of faithfulness speaks highly of Ruth’s character. It also speaks volumes about Naomi’s testimony of faithfulness. She was taken from her home in Bethlehem by her husband because of a famine. Yet somehow, in Moab, Ruth knew there was a distinction between the gods of the surrounding nations and the God of Israel. She referred to God by the name of Yahweh, the name given to Moses by which the children of Israel should know him. When I think of the intimacy between Naomi and Ruth I often wonder what it was that made Ruth so willing to literally give her life to serve and care for Naomi. I think one of the reasons is that it was through Naomi that Ruth learned about Yahweh, the one true God.
Ruth may have been taught about him by Naomi. Naomi may have been the only way that Ruth would have had to know more about this wonderful God who is truly the Lord of heaven and earth. Discipleship is a very relational experience. You build relationships with people around the word of God. Your life becomes a means by which people observe the richness and beauty of Christ. There are heartbreaks and there are joys. In the end, there are people that you will see mature and grow and continue the work of advancing the Kingdom of God. It takes courage to be that kind of believer, but like being a parent, even an in-law, it is something that we as Christians are called to. Something that can happen naturally. I hope that you will experience the beauty of discipleship.