Today’s Reading: Ruth 1: 1-19
Welcome to the Sisterhood of Ruth. You might wonder why of all the heroes and heroins in the Bible we chose Ruth as a model for our ministry? Ruth’s perseverance through widowhood and loss, her fearless decision to leave her homeland and serve God, ultimately resulted in tremendous favor in her life. There is a little Ruth in all of us; the ability walk through the trials of life and still wear a smile, to keep going in the face of pain, loss, rejection and even death; to stand firm in our faith, trust God and support each other is the essence of godly womanhood. We first see this strength to overcome in the life of Ruth as she is entering widowhood. Most widows, in Biblical times, would walk out their days with a marginal life of extreme poverty. Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, understood the stigma attached to widows. As a Jewish woman who had fled Israel during the famine to Moab, Naomi, railing from the loss of both her sons and husband, was now faced with the task of packing up her life and returning home empty handed. Returning to Israel and extended family was her only hope for survival. But, Naomi understood the cultural impact of bringing her daughters-in-law, two Moab women, back with her and the rejection they would face. She understood that remarriage for Ruth and her other daughter-in- law, Oprah, would be all the more unlikely in Israel. It was out of love and concern for their well-being that she insisted that they both remain in Moab and return home to their extended families. Ruth’s courageous response to that request is remarkable. Naomi’s future was unsure but Ruth’s loyalty was unshaken:
Ruth 1: 17-18 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”
It is Ruth’s loyalty to her “sister” Naomi that inspired this ministry. She chose to risk everything, walk away from her home and family, to follow her mother-in-law into an unknown and future. I have seen this loyalty modeled in my own life through four special, godly women who have walked with me through the darkest of valleys and cheered me on at the top of the mountain. These women have fasted with me, prayed for me, cried with me and stood in the gap for me when there was nothing left. Remember, godly sisterhood always points you back to The Father. A true sister in Christ will always lead you towards home. Not only did Ruth admire and love Naomi but she saw something in Naomi that made her want to serve God too. This is the true test of godly friendships that your sisters encourage you to step out in faith, to reach new heights and to achieve your God given purpose for your life. We chose Ruth because she was that kind of woman; a loving friend, a person of tremendous & tested faith, she was fearless, selfless, resourceful, resilient and immensely loyal to Naomi. Her life reflects the struggles and trials of womanhood and provides an awesome testimony to the faithfulness and loyalty of our God when we do it His way. My prayer is that we will all walkout the same loyalty with the women God brings across our paths and that our Father and Provider will fortify your heart with the sweetness of godly sisterhood. Take time to recognize the gift of sisterhood in your life just as I am today as I honor my sisters: Ebonie, Monica, Pamela & Karen, and dedicate this ministry to the example you have set in my life and The Awesome God who sent you all to me.
Heavenly Father, Thank-you for the gift of Your Word and the opportunity to minister to Your girls. Thank-you for sharing the story of Ruth. Help us to model similar loyalty in our interactions with our sisters. Remind us to return love and loyalty back to the ones who love us through the difficult times. Use us as iron sharpening iron as we grow to be more like you. Use us to love one another as you have loved us. In Jesus Name we pray. Amen