“He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” Ruth 4, verse 15.
“Daughter-in-law, who loves you:” that’s quite an admission for the women of Bethlehem. We really have to give them props, some serious kudos. You see, I think it takes a big heart to see someone the way the women see Ruth. Just the verse before, they were giving praise to God for the blessings He brought to Naomi; not the stranger: their friend. Here, they do a roundabout acknowledgement that the blessing is given through Ruth. Ruth isn’t mentioned by name. They only see her as a blessing to Naomi, given by God.
Ham handed? Not really. Think about it. It would have taken great courage to open one’s heart to a stranger, but that’s who Ruth initially was. She was accepted in Bethlehem because she was with Naomi. After a time there, she won the heart of (perhaps) the town’s most eligible bachelor, something that even the local women hadn’t been able to do. In how she conducted herself, Ruth also won the admiration of the women who now complimented her and that isn’t easy to do, especially in a small town. Especially in a place where you’re raised to be wary of, to mistrust, the foreigners around you. Especially since the folks of that area still do.
Do you think we’re any different? I’m reading a Duck Dynasty book, the one written by Willie and Korie Robertson. Did you know that, years ago, they adopted a bi-racial child? That they consider an Asian extension student who stayed with them to be another adopted child? It takes some very real courage to see past the differences we all have and simply love another person for who they are: as a blessing from God and someone who needs love and care. That really takes guts in the deep South. Recently, the Robertson’s have been, in pop culture and the media, popular punching bags as much for Phil Robertson’s comments as for their displays of Christian faith. Detractors say it’s all staged for the TV, yet this is the family who doesn’t care what color or race you are.
Tell me: when did you or I last open up our hearts and homes to strangers who are different from us but just might be a blessing?
Maybe the women of Bethlehem would have accepted the Robertson’s more readily than some of the people in America. “Daughter-in-law, who loves you;” may we each be so blessed to meet people who see us in that light.
Lord help me to love people more the way You love them.
Read Ruth 4.