so...I'm doing this beyond awesome study of the book of ruth by miss kelly minter. if you haven't ever done a study by her (like me before this one!), I highly recommend it. I'd try to explain why it's so awesome, but I'm not sure I can capture it, so just trust me. kelly. pretty fab.
know what else is pretty fab? the book of ruth. in studying the past week, I came across a few points that were quite convicting, exciting and scary at all the same time. kelly is discussing two characters in ruth who do not steal the show. if this were a television episode, they'd be "also featured" in the subtitles or maybe even unnamed as "boy 1" or "waitress 3". actually, one of these characters really isn't given a name! kelly is talking about orpah and the other possible kinsman redeemer for ruth.
these two characters do absolutely nothing wrong in this story. in fact, their actions are very similar to what I probably would have done in the situations they were in. one (orpah) was trying to be dedicated to her stepmother (naomi), but after much persuasion on naomi's part, orpah decided to stay in Moab (her home, by the way). the other (bachelor number 2, or other possible kinsman redeemer if you will), made the decision not to take on another wife and all the implications that would come with that for his family. he wasn't obligated to marry ruth, and another man was offering to do it if he did not, so he did not.
these both seem like logical, normal decisions to me. decisions I could easily make. decisions I could easily be talked into by friends or family if the scenarios were true for my own life (and if polygamy and all that jazz was really still around...don't even bring up sister wives...).
but yet, as kelly points out, these two are not the ones that the story is about. these are not the ones who are famous in the Bible, or used as examples of God's love and devotion to us. instead, ruth and boaz are the ones who did the unlikely and the unnatural or illogical. and the story is all about them.
to steal kelly's line -- they chose sacrifice and love, while the others chose safety.
yow. that stings a bit. and sounds a bit too familiar.
kelly goes on to discuss the three qualifications for a kinsman redeemer: they had to be near kin, able to redeem, and willing to redeem. (if you're not familiar with what a kinsman redeemer is, don't worry, I wasn't either. once again, I highly recommend kelly's study. or you could find it in the Bible. or google).
the point is...the other possible redeemer had the first two qualities, but was not willing. and I wonder if that's a large problem in my own life. am I near people I could be helping? am I able to help them? to give them what they need? the answer to both of these is most likely yes. the third? well...that one is a little more tricky. kelly discusses this issue:
And isn't it this third element that often ends up being our downfall? We're able, but so often we're just not willing. This may be one of the most tragic ways for a Christian to spend her life: in the right place with all the right resources but without a willing heart.
she goes on later in the study (on the same day, ps...it was a rough, convicting day) to say this...
I used to be afraid of dedicating my life to the Lord, certain that He would seize this small window of opportunity to make my life extraordinarily hard...But I am more convinced than ever that it is not yielding my life to the Lord that is the truly awful and frightful place. I long to live the full, adventurous, and impacting life that God desires for me to live.
I, too, long for this. reading this reminded me of old desires and a passion was stirred. I pray that God would make me willing. I pray He'd show me how he can use me. how He wants to use me. if I would only be willing.
I pray for the courage to not choose the logical or normal. to not fear man. but to fear God. and to be willing.