Helping others is important. Although not showy, it encourages, strengthens, and lifts up others.
We will look at four individuals who helped others. Ruth, Barnabas, Paul, and Barzillai. Their stories recall friendships, service, and commitment.
Ruth and Naomi: Undying devotion
“And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.16 And 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:17 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.18 When she saw that she was steadfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.19 So they two went until they came to Bethlehem.” (Ruth 1:18-19a)
Naomi was a Jew and Ruth was a Moabitess. A famine caused Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, and two sons to move to Moab from Bethlehem-Judah. In the course of time, the two sons married two women of Moab. Then Elimelech dies, followed by both sons, leaving Naomi a widow. Naomi admonishes the girls to go back to their parents. One does, but Ruth will not leave Naomi. The famine is over and Ruth follows Naomi back to Bethlehem-Judah.
This begins the love story of Ruth’s complete devotion and care for Naomi. Ruth was the only family Naomi had.
What was Ruth’s motivating motive for going with Naomi? Love! Ruth saw a need and met it. She was all in. No wavering, questioning, or doubts.
Ruth had also observed the God Naomi worshiped. God Jehovah, the true God, the all mighty God of creation. When the time came to make a choice, she chose to follow the God of Naomi.
Because of this bond, Naomi was strengthened and encouraged to carry on.
Have we ever been that kind of friend to someone?
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001