By Katie Pearson
“Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, ‘My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?’” – Ruth 3:1
Have you ever felt like an outsider? How did you try to fit in when you felt different from your community, group, or team? As humans, we crave approval and look for security in our gifts and talents. When we feel disliked, or like we don’t belong, we often try to show off our strengths. We try to prove ourselves before others. But Ruth shows us a different way. She was an outlier who waited patiently for God to prove his faithfulness in her life.
It’s hard to imagine how Ruth must have felt, returning to Bethlehem with Naomi, who was welcomed by her own people and customs. My own family has moved numerous times, and while people have been kind to us, they haven’t always received us like family. Nor would I expect them to. It’s challenging to break into a community with a shared history and a full calendar. At least we went with a new job and quickly found churches with families who shared our faith. Ruth was new to everything and entirely dependent. Apart from her mother-in-law, we don’t know if she had a single friend.
What can we learn from Ruth’s story when we feel unaccepted, different, or rejected?
First, it’s clear that Ruth has a clear sense of calling. Her bold statement in Chapter 1 shows her dedication to Naomi: “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God…. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you” (Ruth 1:16–18). Love compels Ruth to go with Naomi, but faith gives her the courage to take the leap of faith and start over. She is leaving her nation but journeying toward God and his call on her life. So are we.
What do you need courage for today that will move you forward in your journey of faith? What would it look like to follow Jesus wholeheartedly into the next chapter or season?
Sometimes we forget that life on earth is temporary, but God and his kingdom are eternal. As we walk by faith, we can witness others who may, in turn, give their life to Christ. As you trust in Christ, the Lord may draw others to the faith that sustains you: “Honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
If you are afraid of being an outlier for your faith and looking foolish in the name of Christ, confess that to the Lord. Ask him for a spirit of boldness to leave everything behind, if necessary, to live in obedience for an audience of One.
Jesus calls the Holy Spirit a "gift" who will guide us, lead us, and empower us. Yet many believers don't experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This unique Christian small group Bible study provides a space in which we can explore what it truly means to "walk in the Spirit" on a daily basis. The Spirit-Filled Life small group curriculum centers on a 6-part video teaching series examining the life-giving and creative work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Begin to experience the gift today!
Comments will be approved before showing up.