'Don't call me Naomi,' she told them. 'Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me.'
Naomi, the mother-in-law of Ruth, is a role model for witnessing Christ, especially among foreign cultures. Her kindness in the midst of suffering made Ruth (not a Jew) want to become one. Ruth's conversion marks the bloodline of Christ.
Earlier, when Naomi's family left Israel in the wake of famine, perhaps they were stricken by poverty. When her husband and sons died in Moab, Naomi returned home poorer than she left. Except for Ruth, who became her treasure.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: What should you know about poverty?*
1) Poverty is a 9-1-1 call: 'The poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land' ' (Deuteronomy 15:11).
2) Christ's target audience was the poor: 'The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim Good News to the poor' (Luke 4:18). 'Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God' (Luke 6:20).
3) God identifies with poor people: 'Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord' (Proverbs 19:17); 'Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me' (Matthew 25:40). 'Saul, why do you persecute Me?' (Acts 9:4).
4) God invites poor people to His house: 'Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame... compel them to come in, so that my house will be full' (Luke 14:21-23). 'Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden' (Matthew 11:28).
5) Poor in purpose is poverty, too. 'When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd' (Matthew 9:36). 'For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost' (Luke 19:10).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Your entrance on media's stages reveals the action plan of your Lord: 'Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven' (Matthew 5:16). People like Naomi and Ruth need your kindness to survive and thrive.
To Be Continued...
* Previous AMTC 34-part devotion series, Poor People: http://amtcdevotions.org/poor-people-part-1-their-king
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Suffering series.