Monday, April 5, 2010

A Love Story...

Ok, maybe it's because I'm done with Judges and have moved on to Ruth...maybe it's because I watched "The Sound of Music" last night with my girls and my estrogen level is dangerously high...but the passage for today is one of the greatest love stories ever told. (I'm really just a big ol' teddy bear at heart)

Now, this story is not about the love between a man and woman, although there are aspects of that later in the story. This story is about the love between a daughter in law and her mother in law. To me, with the exception of the love story written on the cross, this is the greatest love story in scripture. But that's just me.

Here's the deal. Naomi moved with her husband and two sons to Moab because of a famine in Bethlehem. After a little while, her husband dies. After a little while longer, her sons marry women from Moab. Then after a little while longer, both sons die, leaving the three women to fend for themselves. Naomi dismisses the daughters to go back to their people and remarry, one does, one will not. So Naomi and Ruth decided to make their way back to Bethlehem. Ok, there's the quick overview up till now.

Back in Bethlehem Ruth goes out to glean grain from the fields one day. That was how it worked. If you were a farmer, you could not go over the field a second time, and had to leave some grain around the edges for the widows in town. As she was gleaning in a field owned by Boaz, he noticed her and was especially kind to her (another love story right there because I bet that wasn't the norm). When Ruth asked Boaz why he was being so kind to her, he said that it was because of what she had done for Naomi.

There is a truth buried in this story, though, and sometimes it's one that we really struggle with...and here it is: (You know I couldn't just talk about the love story, right? My estrogen level is not that high)...Does the story of Ruth tell us that if we do good for others, good will be done for us?

That's what Moab told her. The reason he was being kind to her was because she had been kind to Naomi. Now, my question is, was Ruth kind to Naomi so that she would be taken care of in Bethlehem? The short answer is, "I don't believe that for a minute." In this story, I believe that Ruth did all that she did for Naomi strictly out of her love for her. I don't think that Ruth behaved the way that she did so that she would get something in return, and that my friends, is love. That's what happened at the cross, and that's also why this story is so beautiful.

I realize that there are folks who operate like that, though, you know, giving so they can get. It's just the reality of the world we live in. Sometimes we question other people's motives, I've done it. But should we? Certainly, we have no way of knowing what motive is in someone's heart, and they may be showing kindness to us because of some agenda they have, but what if? What if they are actually being Ruth to our Naomi? It happens.

I don't know, maybe I'm just rambling this morning. But it just seems to me that with the world the way it is (hunger being the norm in some areas and not the exception; folks still sleeping on the streets in one of the richest countries in the world; and we could go on and on) that knowing there are some folks out there who will give with no thoughts of getting back makes me feel a little better about the human species. So for today, and maybe only today, I will not question, if or when, someone shows me a kindness. I will not think about their motives. I will not ask why. I will accept it with grace and hope that, when or if, I do the same for someone else today my motives will not be questioned either.

Now, where's my fishing rod? I've got to do something manly for a while.



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