Thursday, February 27th, 2014
Lessons From Ruth (Part 5)
Now the two of them went until they came to Bethlehem. And it happened, when they had come to Bethlehem, that all the city was excited because of them; and the women said, 'Is this Naomi?'
But she said to them, 'Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty.'
Ruth 1:19-21 (NKJV)
Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, 'Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.'
And she said to her, 'Go, my daughter.'
Ruth 2:2 (NKJV)
So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, 'Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?'
Ruth 2:10 (NKJV)
Whoever thought humiliation could be a good thing?* God, for One. Me, for two. Once a proud and feisty success, at 51 I was humbled by the circumstances of my life. Today, I am a recovering member of an unusual club: repentant pride-aholics.
We thought we had it all. We destined our own fall.We thought we knew the deal. God laughs. It wasn't real.
But here's the blessing: my fall caused me to pause in my self-aggrandizement, to reconsider--and look up. God smiled at me and extended His Hand. I took It. Surely, some of us need to be broken.
The wisest people on earth humble themselves--like Naomi and Ruth. Searching for a better life, Naomi left Bethlehem with a husband and two sons. Finding herself in a life far worse, she returned home alone--except for a surprising daughter-in-law, Ruth.
Ruth also humbled herself: before Naomi, before Naomi's God, before the harvest reapers--and before Boaz, who would become her husband.
By her humility, Ruth won big; she received a new faith, citizenship, husband, child, wealth, honor--and a place in the lineage of Jesus. 'For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted' (Luke 18:14). Naomi shared in Ruth's great bounty.
Actors, models and talent for Christ, resist big talk. In the land of puffery and pride, be sincere. Let someone else talk you up, but don't do it yourself--and don't believe the hype. Remember your role is supporting: supporting to Jesus, and supporting to the fans who have never met Him.
Only if you remain humble will God lift you to His form of fame. Because His form of fame involved a cross--and yours does, too. What is that cross? In short, it is your duty as His follower. One part of that duty is humility: to pass the glory to Him.
To Be Continued...
* Excluded in 'humiliation can be a good' are those who are already humble or helpless. Oppressors will be punished, and the humble will be exalted.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Lessons From Ruth series.