A STORY OF GRACE EXPERIENCED IN OBEDIENCE by MAYESO MAZENGERA
A story of grace experienced in obedience
If we were to give an attribute of Ruth that she should be known for, some would say her bravery, but what she was I my humble opinion, is obedient. There is an integrity to Ruth that perhaps is overlooked. A quietness of spirit that we must aspire to. She would seem today to almost be a pushover, always listening to her mother in law or following what some guy she barely knows says. Where we see her being bold, is in obedience. Not in the pursuit of her own selfishness. The one time we do see Ruth fight is when she fought to keep her word. She had made a promise and refused to be made a liar.
We see her take initiative in order to provide for Naomi. She worked faithfully not for herself alone but for the mother in law she had vowed to be a companion to. When Boaz approaches her he says he had heard what she had done for Naomi. The virtue that speaks for her is the one she exercised in the service of others. Is this not the very same traits Jesus desires for us? That we look to serve others with our gifts? That we who would wish to be greatest must indeed pursue to serve others. We live and walk with a God who is about service to others, giving to them, honouring them.
She finds her boldness in the words told to her. She trusts not in her own charm or womanly virtues but rather the word Naomi had told her when she approaches Boaz. Let it not be forgotten that the first time Boaz saw her, he asked who she was-I imagine it was not because of what probably was her dust covered appearance by then. She has been working the field, she must have been a real looker if even after a whole day gathering crop, a man would ask “Who is that?”
She trusted Boaz’s word for protection when she gleaned in his fields. She had not asked for favour but she experienced much of it when she chose to submit to the instructions of others. She submitted her youth to the wisdom of Naomi, submitted her bodily security to Boaz and her future to the man who was their kinsman redeemer. And redeem her he did.
Ruth had the quietness of spirit that I imagine eludes us all. She used her strength to obey, her stubbornness to be faithful and used her courage to walk in obedience when she herself did not know of the outcome. I imagine Ruth had a lot to say yet the words that are recorded to have been spoken by her speak to her willingness to sacrifice in order to keep her word to someone and her simply repeating what she had been told to say by her mother in law. There are no great lengthy paragraphs of her conversing or waxing poetic, but there are a great many words written documenting her works. Showing her actions. Perhaps we should speak less and do more. Perhaps we need to learn to submit our opinions and characters to God. Submit our wills and let Him make the plan for our salvation, prosperity and success. Ruth was no seductress, what she did was in obedience and trust. And we find that her virtue and reputation were protected when Boaz instructed his servants to not let it be known that she had come to him. In fact when he discussed the matter with elders he did not say “she came to me”. She was covered by obedience, many of us think humility and obedience are humiliating, rather they cover and bring us honour. The cross looked like shame but there was victory in it. The grave looked like a loss but the resurrection power is what we depend on today.
Perhaps the problem as never been God’s word or instruction, or His timing. But our own lack of trust. Obedience is a labour in love because it is an exercise in trust, it is a show of faith and confidence by the beloved in the lover.