Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz. Ruth 2, verse 1
February 20 is an important day in my family. My son’s girlfriend, Kelli, turns 18 today. My Aunt Sally, Dad’s sister, turns 78 today, and she’s one of the neatest folks you’ll ever meet. And today is also my mother’s birthday.
I think it’s fitting on this day that the verse which hit my calendar was verse 1 of Ruth chapter 2. In it, we learn about Naomi’s family. Elimelek, Naomi’s deceased husband, had a relative named Boaz, and Boaz was a man of standing. He had done something, likely agricultural, to achieve wealth and position in Israel.
All three of the women who I mentioned above are wise and worldly, but (naturally) it’s my mom I’d like to talk about. Today is her 85th birthday. She’s not just the woman who gave me life: she’s a living link to a world that no longer exists. Like Naomi, she is a widow and living in a new place. Grace Terry is also a woman of standing, and she’d probably be the first to tell you that. Born when Calvin Coolidge was still president, she has seen World War II, lived in seven states as well as both Germany and Japan, and raised two successful children (as well as presiding beside six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren). She has always insisted on being treated as an intelligent equal. Long before it was common, she earned bachelors and masters degrees, and succeeded outside the home.
I look at Mom’s life, however, and consider that her greatest achievement is knowing Jesus. Both of my parents were diligent church-goers yet it has only been in the last 15 years or so that she has dug deeper into what it means to believe in Christ. What’s more, she’s done it in plain view of us all. Mom’s morals and tastes seem to be leftover from that bygone era, and she perseveres because of them. Indeed, she lives by showing that the reason for those morals is because of Jesus.
Now in advanced age, like Naomi, Mom is learning to rely on family. We are the ones who will disassemble the room-choking collections with which filled every inch of her house. And we are also the ones who get to regularly include her now in family events, and call her to ask “do you want to go out for ice cream,” and we get to drop by for visits. It’s work to be in a family; for Naomi it was hard to learn to rely on others. It was hard for my mom to do the same, yet Jesus is glorified because of it. Happy birthday to all the women I’m celebrating here today, but especially to my Mom.
Lord, bless these good people and grant them love, health, and prosperity in their next year just begun
Read Ruth 2.