The Stories in the Bible are Stories of Us
No matter how much the times change, people continue to remain the same. Whether its people who lived thousands of years ago, or people who share the streets with us today, everybody’s life moves in and out of love and crisis as they search for hope, provision, and purpose. The stories of Ruth, Nehemiah, and Jonah illustrate different levels of crises, from the local family, to the community, to international dynamics. They also illustrate how people of God worked to resolve crises in their midst, whether they were personal crises, or crises of those around them. Every story is a movement from problem to resolution, including the stories of our own lives. We seek to solve the problems of loneliness, fear, complacency, death, loss, pain, as well as many others. And in God we find that resolution can be found in Jesus Christ, in faith in God, in the fellowship of friends and family, and in the mutual investment we make in one another’s lives. The stories of the Old Testament may be centuries old, but they are our stories still today. And in them we see how our service as the people of God to our families, our churches, our communities, and our world impart hope and transformation to all who are in need, even to ourselves
June 18 – Much Ado About Nothing (Ruth 3) Sometimes the gift of God comes in the form of an unexpected, maybe even unusual, opportunity. In Ruth 3, both Naomi and Boaz recognize such opportunities. Ruth was simply left in the middle of an elaborate scheme as Naomi elected to take a chance on Boaz, and as Boaz eventually took a chance on Ruth. Opportunities to invest in the lives of others come around all the time, and some of those occasions are chances to make a life-changing difference. But if we don’t align our thinking toward this purpose, and allow ourselves to be interrupted, we may never realize that God’s gift of influence and legacy has crossed our path.
June 11 – Great Expectations (Ruth 2) Loyalty and commitment are not just inner feelings, but must be accompanied by actions. In this vein, Ruth exemplifies her loyalty by searching for a means of provision for Naomi and herself. Ruth’s loyalty and hard work is recognized by Boaz (and by the Lord), and is met with care and provision. The family dynamic is illustrated as one of mutual service, from members in both lower and higher positions. In this environment of hard work, commitment, and generosity, the seeds of hope are planted and a potential future begins to come into view.
June 4 – For Whom the Bell Tolls (Ruth 1) Every great story needs a crisis. If there is no problem to overcome, there is not much of a story. In Ruth, one crisis leads to another as problems continue to mount. First, famine leads to displacement, displacement leads to death, death leads to abandonment and an absence of hope for the future. But like every great story, the seeds of redemption are evident early on, for those with eyes to see. And as is often the case, the seed of redemption here is in the form of a person, one who, through personal sacrifice, becomes the agent for God to accomplish a remarkable work of restoration in the lives of others.