Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Friendship, Bitterness, & Treasures

"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: 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

Today I started reading Ruth again, one of my favorite books of the Bible. For such a short book, there is so much to be learned from it. Today I learned about friendship…which is what the name "Ruth" means.  The first chapter of this book is a perfect example of what true friendship (love) looks like. Out of real love for her mother-in-law, Ruth refused to leave her alone to go on her way, but insisted on going with her...not just going with her, but remaining with her. 

Naomi showed real love for Ruth by trying to protect her and insisting that she stay where she might have a better chance for survival, or so she hoped. However, God had a much better plan for Ruth, and, unlike Orpah, she chose to cling to Naomi, and that is the moment God would begin to change her life. This change began when she chose to stick with her loved one and enter Bethlehem (The House of Bread), risking leaving behind all that was familiar to her, simply because she truly loved Naomi.
Naomi means "my delight", however, when they reached her homeland, she told them to call her "bitterness", rather than "my delight", due to the negative way she felt God had dealt with her.  You see, through eyes of love, Ruth still saw her mother-in-law as delightful, someone worthy of love...someone in need of and who deserved companionship.  No doubt, by her insistence to be called Mara instead, life had beaten her down and she probably was no longer quite the loveable lady Ruth had first known. She has probably depressed, negative, and unlikely the type of person people enjoyed being around...she was "bitter". 

Bitter...not only an attitude, but a taste that can get into other people's mouths and spirits as well, if those people do not choose to love and over power, rather than to ingest, that potent taste. 

Reading about this reminded me of a tweet by Bro. Raymond Woodward that I read earlier today:
"We're not willing to take what we don't want to get what we do want. A field has rocks and weeds in it, but the TREASURE is in the field! You're church, pastor, marriage, or spouse is a field with treasure in it. Don't complain about the field; rejoice in the TREASURE!" ~J. Hyles
None of us are perfect. If you don't agree with that statement I suggest you repeat it out loud until you do! In different ways I believe we are all diamonds in the rough. A diamond in the rough may be defined as "someone (or something) that has hidden exceptional characteristics and/or future potential, but currently lacks the final touches that would make them (or it) truly stand out from the crowd." 

 Lucky for all of us:
"Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." ~Proverbs 27:17
A true friend remembers you at your best, and if you are no longer at that place, reminds you of what "your best" looks like until you are back to being the treasure God created you to be. In process it is very possible one may become an even more valuable treasure than ever before!
 Left to their own devices it is doubtful that Ruth or Naomi would have survived their tragic situation. However, together, they not only survived, but thrived.  And, just as, in my last blog, I spoke of Christ being born through the lineage of Isaac...He also chose Ruth and Boaz to be part of that blessed lineage as well!
"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" ~Matthew 6:21

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