Why did Ruth make a startling (crazy?) choice?

a thoughtful childHave you ever admired something in someone, causing you to wonder: What makes them tick?

I’m not talking about wonderment in a swooning sort of way — more wanting to know what it is that motivates a person. What is their driving force?

The Bible doesn’t give us many clues but Naomi must have exhibited behaviors that Ruth applauded, eliciting a, “Hey, I want to be like her” response in Ruth.

This coming Sunday kids will be in worship as we celebrate All Saints Day, a time when we commemorate the lives of those who have shown us a picture of faith. Though this is a day set-aside to remember faith-warriors who have died in the last year, we can stretch our definition of a saint to someone who is living; someone who wears their faith on their sleeve.

Naomi must have worn her faith on her sleeve.

Ruth acted on her admiration for her mother-in-law Naomi. She made a startling choice:

Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God my God. Ruth 1:16b,c

Time Out. Talk about…speech bubble
Ask these questions at the family dinner table. (Or wherever your family is gathered together.)

  • What could have made Ruth decide to follow Naomi’s God?
  • Who to you seems like they are close to God?
  • Have you ever thought about asking them how they got connected to God?
  • Identify people you know who seem to be “God followers.” Make a plan to ask them about their faith.
  • What is it about YOUR faith that might make other’s think: “how can I be like them?”
How are you wearing your faith on your sleeve?

a blue line


Photo credits:
A thoughtful child by Ryse Lawrence, in the Public Domain, offered at Pixabay.com.

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How to make bold, Ruth-like promises to people we care about

Naomi had packed up her belongings, and with her two daughter-in-laws, was heading to Bethlehem. What a trio – three widows without any children! (People hearing this story in Bible times knew about the perilous predicament of a widow without a son to care for her.) These three likely hadn’t gotten very far before Naomi urged them to make a different choice.

Go home. Go back to your families. What possible reason would you have for returning with me? (Ruth 1:11)

One of the daughter-in-laws does just that. She returns to her home in Moab… to her mother… to what was well-known… to her gods (Moab was a land of multiple pagan gods)… to a place where she wasn’t likely to be shunned (Israelites looked down on Moabites). She was looking out for number one – herself. Nothing to be faulted for that!

Meanwhile, Ruth makes a bold, surprising promise:

Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God my God. Ruth 1:16

Two kids make a pinky promise (by linking their pinky fingers)

Such an extravagant commitment!

This is a story about love, loyalty, devotion. And it’s about making hard choices.

What “Ruth-like” promises have you made for the people in your life?

While this strategy can apply to everyone in the family, I’m specifically talking to the parents here. How about making one (or all) of these promises:

  • I’ll attend worship with my family every week – even though the kids might squirm, sigh loudly, and make a fuss. (Because worshiping with your kids is good parenting in action.)
  • I’ll make sure that I am cultivating my own faith and I’ll talk about my faith journey with my family.
  • I’ll ask my child every night, “How can I be praying for you?”
  • I will daily invest in blessing my child.

a blue line

a Ruth wheat braiding projectIf your kids attend FUMC as Cool Disciples, they are mentally absorbing the basics. Each week they hear the story details. As they craft wheat creations or knead barley biscuits, they are learning definitions for widow, famine, and gleaning; they are hearing Ruth’s bold statement of trust.

But, with only (at best) 45 minutes in class, we can’t dig deep enough. We try, but we don’t have the time.

 
We need parents and caregivers to continue the learning.

We need you to make some Ruth-like promises, to ensure your child’s spiritually is nurtured.

Here’s my Ruth-like, stretching-myself promise to you (because I care about your kids): I’ll keep bugging you to grow your kids faith!


Photo credits:
Pinky promise by Cheryl Holt, in the Public Domain, offered at Pixabay.com.
Other photo from my archives.

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