Scratching the Surface of Ruth
I was asked to provide a "devotional" for the United Way's annual kick-off in our community back on September 19, 2012 (abbreviated summary):
Jesus prayed, "Father, may they all be one - united - to prove You sent Me."
You may recall Frank Layden, former coach of the Utah Jazz, confronting
an under-achieving player, "Son, I don't get it with you. Is it ignorance or
apathy?" The player responded, "Coach, I don't know and I don't care!"
Many so-called Christians and churches talk and act like that when it
comes to the unity expected by Jesus...
Too many of 'em are ignorant or arrogant or both as they don't show the
tie that binds and talk, act, and look so irregular, irascible, irreconcilable,
cranky, contentious, and divisive...
They have the gall to get up on Sundays to sing, "Blest be the tie that
binds...They'll know we are Christians by our love..."
They don't get along and have the audacity to tell the world how to do
what they don't do...
I remember Billy Graham saying to one of 'em, "If someone asks who's
your pastor, please don't mention me!"
Or as I had to say to someone about four years ago, "Please change
your behavior so I don't have to lie at your funeral."
Come to think of it, I haven't seen her since...
We have no credibility for telling the world how to get along - united -
if we don't/aren't...
That's why Jesus prayed, "Father, may they all be one - united - to
That's why I praise God for the United Way.
It helps us to keep His prayer; drawing us together for the common
good and drawing us above our silly separations and segregations...
The united way.
And remember, Jesus said, "I am the way..."
Some folks who don't like some of the things that the United Way supports asked how/why I could/should provide a "devotional" for them.
I repeated the devotional; and if they persisted, I asked if they are pure and perfect in every way and totally committed to the will of God as exemplified in Jesus and explained in Holy Scrripture: "What's that I see in your eye?"
Knowing no one doesn't need our Source, Starter, and Sovereign as Savior, no one is any better or any worse than anybody else when it comes to needing our Source, Starter, and Sovereign as Savior.
Everyone shares the same family tree.
Everyone has the same roots.
We are the Adamsons - daughters and sons of our first parents with the same inclination to insult God's holiness and injure God's people.
We're related in our need for Him as Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior.
This connection is illustrated by Ruth.
She was born on the wrong side of the tracks - living in the unPromised Land.
Something of a minimum wage migrant worker with minimal educational or socioeconomic credentials, she had the most important thing going for her: loyalty.
Elimelech and Naomi with their two sons Mahlon and Kilion move from Bethlehem in Israel across the Dead Sea to Moab because of a famine. That means they left the Promised Land to make a living among Arabs.
Things got worse.
Then Naomi's Jewish sons marry Arabs named Orpah and Ruth; and though it wasn't absolutely forbidden for Jews to marry Arabs, it wasn't especially kosher.
Things got worse.
Mahlon and Kilion die; meaning Jewish mother-in-law Naomi is now living in the unPromised Land with Arab daughters-in-law.
Hearing the good old days have returned to Bethlehem, Naomi decides to split; and knowing her Arab daughters-in-law would be as popular in Israel as Bears in Green Bay, she tells Orpah and Ruth to stay home.
Orpah takes to it like a free agent to a cash bonus.
"But Ruth," we read, "clung to her."
In one of life's most difficult tests of loyalty - sacrificing personal security - the young Arab Ruth stayed with her old Jewish mother-in-law Naomi.
Things got better.
Ruth's loyalty was honored by God with a new home, husband, and son named Obed.
Things got better.
Obed was the father of Jesse who was the father of David in a family tree that moved to the climax of His story in the birth of Jesus.
Do you get it/Him?
Everyone is related!
Because everyone has the same Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior.
It's the united way.
Again, as Jesus said, "I am the way..."
Like the young Arab and old Jew coming together through love and loyalty, God's family is defined by Jesus in the simplest of qualifying terms: "Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
According to our Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior, family has nothing to do with color, class, or culture.
It's all about coming together in, through, and for Him.
That's Ruth's story.
Ruth said it for the whole family: "Entreat me not to leave or return from following you; for wither thou goest, I will go. Where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people will be my people. And your God will be my God."
While reading His story according to Ruth, I kept thinking back to my favorite lines from 20th century American poet E.E. Cummings (aka e.e. cummings):
I am blue.
You are yellow.
Together we make green.
And green is my favorite color.
Truly, truly, truly, that's devotional.
...to be continued...
Blessings and Love!
One of your best . . . well done
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