But Ruth said: ‘Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die…’ Ruth1:16-17
What prompted Ruth to make the above statement to Naomi her mother in-law after the death of her husband? It was quite obvious that there were no prospects for her in the strange land she pleaded to go, she would be among strangers, and more, still serve a foreign God. Ruth could have easily gone back to her family – the familiar, and a solid support system.
By her commitment to stick with Naomi, she severed all ties to her past i.e. her family, friends, home, gods, etc., and decided to put her faith in a God that she didn’t even know. She knew she didn’t have any security blankets by hanging on to Naomi and her God, yet, she decided to follow all the same. She must have had a mental glimpse of how hard her life would be as a widow who also had to fend for another widow, but that didn’t deter her. This goes to show that her intentions were pure and not based on what she could get.
Orpah her sister in-law was also in the same position as Ruth but decided not to follow through because of the seemingly lack of ‘prospects.’ Perhaps, it was a seeming lack of prospects that also made Demas – Paul’s fellow worker in ministry desert him in the face of hardship. Paul recounting the story to Timothy in II Timothy 4:9-10 wrote, “Timothy, please come as soon as you can. Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica…” Like Orpah and Demas, many today follow Jesus to a point and then turn back when the heat is on or when they see no immediate material benefits. They would prefer to take a shortcut, the wide road that leads to destruction, rather than take the narrow and straight path that leads to life.
However, as a Christian who desires to walk successfully on this journey with God, you must give heed to His Word that says, you shouldn’t love the world or its goods because your love for the world will squeeze out the love you have for the Father (I John 2:15 MSG). So, you must die daily to self and be undivided in your devotion, like Ruth, to love and follow God in all circumstances – in the good and not so good times. When you reach that point of devotion to God, He can then entrust great things to your care and make sure your faith is rewarded just like He rewarded Ruth’s faith with a worthy husband, Boaz, who connected her to the linage of Jesus Christ.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will strengthen your resolve to follow God in all circumstances; that your devotion to Him will remain undivided especially when you are yet to see any physical benefits in doing so.