When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. Ruth 1, verse 18.
I don’t know about you, but it’s tough for me to let someone help me. At home, I plan my days so full that there is no room to breathe and I want help, but I’m too proud (and dumb) to ask. Then I get exasperated if nobody offers. When I am carrying too many boxes, people ask “can I help” and I reply, “I’ve got it.” In reality, I could use a hand. If I’m having a rough time, I usually answer “I’m ok” when people ask how I’m doing because I’m too vain to give them the answer that maybe I need a shoulder to lean on.
Dave, face the music.
Naomi might have found it hard as well. Whether it was love, obligation, grief, independence, or pride that drove her to do it, she urged her daughters-in-law to leave her be (basically to die). Ruth had other thoughts, though: thoughts motivated by love. Ruth convinced Naomi that she was in earnest and that she would accompany her. Then Naomi consented.
Did Naomi give in to the inevitable? Did she see the writing on the wall? Did she begin to grasp the love of God that was rooted in Ruth? Perhaps it was a bit of all those things; someday, in heaven, let’s ask her. One thing became clear through it: God taught Naomi a lesson. He wants us to let others help us. He wants this because it’s one of the ways He lets His love shine through.
Think about it. All of the miracles that Jesus performed: weren’t they to help others? In doing things for others – feeding them, healing them, demonstrating His power for them – wasn’t Jesus acting out to help them in ways they couldn’t help themselves? What better illustration of how God wants to help us?
What’s more, in letting others help us, we help ourselves AND them through God’s way. To admit need is to be humble; one can’t say “help me” without admitting that one can’t do it all alone. In doing that, we open ourselves to God and to others. Additionally, when we help others, we share Jesus’ agape love. Sure, sometimes we do things to enforce or fulfill obligations. But isn’t it true that, most times, even when we do something as small as holding the door for others, we do so without expectation of anything in return? That’s selfless. That’s agape. That’s Jesus at work in us.
That’s where Naomi found herself, tacitly admitting that she needed help and that her loved one wanted to provide it. When that happened, the help – in God’s providence – really went into motion.
Lord, please help me. I need help only You can give. And I want to help others today. Make me Your instrument to do for others what You want done.
Read Ruth 1, 18-22.
How can you help someone today?
What help do you need?
What’s keeping you from asking for it?