Ruth 1:16 Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.
I am drawn to loyalty. I personally love to hear stories of athletes who played for losing teams for many years, often watching other teammates leave, often giving up significant salary opportunities, for the sole reason of remaining loyal to their original team.
Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker have never made the Hall of Fame, but for 19 seasons they played nowhere other than for the Detroit Tigers in Major League Baseball (MLB), and they recorded more double plays than any other shortstop/second baseman combination in history. Together they only made the playoffs twice, but in 1984 they won the greatest prize in MLB, the World Series. Each player had ample opportunity to go elsewhere, likely for significantly more money, but they chose to remain loyal to the small market in Detroit.
Loyalty is a characteristic that I believe God also values greatly. Today’s scripture is to me one of the greatest examples of loyalty in the Bible, and it contains one of my favorite verses in the entire Bible. Ruth, a Moabite woman lost her husband, and she had the choice to go back to her family or take the considerable risk of remaining with her mother-in-law Naomi. With the social safety nets we have in place today, it is difficult to understand that remaining with a widow (Naomi had lost her husband and both her sons) was potentially a life and death decision. Ruth could quite literally end up being homeless and starving. In this context, Ruth’s speech is a wonderful example of loyalty. Noami was urging her to return to her family, but Ruth responded: “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you will go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely if anything but death separates you and me.” Ruth 1:16b-17
Without ever meeting her, I love the heart of this woman Ruth and it warms my hear to see how God rewarded this precious woman. God rewarded Ruth during her life, and even beyond. If you read the account in he meets Boaz, a wealthy man, and finds favour in his eyes (Ruth 2: 11-12). They soon are married (Ruth 4: 9-10) and as we follow Ruth’s lineage we find that her great grandson is the King David (Ruth 4:17). Not surprisingly, David was considered to be “a man after God’s own heart”, and of course out of the house of David came the savior of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ. Ruth’s loyal character endured to her descendent David, who proved to be a man who was loyal to God, and who loved him with all his heart.
May we all be believers who are loyal to our Lord in heaven. May we be willing to make tough choices today (and perhaps even tough sacrifices), doing what we know is right in the eyes of the Lord, even if it may not seem expedient today. May we remain loyal to God even when it seems illogical. May we have an eternal perspective. “Lord, would you help us to see beyond the immediate, beyond the noise around us. Please give us your eternal perspective and the strength to be loyal to our calling.”