In the book of Ruth the main characters are Ruth the younger lady and Naomi the older lady. Okay gentleman do not stop listening even though I’m talking about ladies – this goes for men as well. So y’all do not get to not listen.
A little background into the book of Ruth. Naomi was married and had 2 sons. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem and traveled to Moab because of a famine in their country. Now while there, Naomi’s husband Elimelech dies. And what does her 2 sons do – marry Moabite women. Now this was very unusual because these 2 type people usually didn’t marry in those days.
One of her sons married Ruth, the other married Orpah (not Oprah)…. And what happens next, the 2 sons die. Now I can’t imagine what this lady Naomi is going through, I have never lost a husband or a child, but my mother has. She has told me losing a child is so much worse. Some of you may know the feelings and hardship Naomi is facing with the loss of a husband and not 1 but 2 sons. This has to be real pain and agony. Naomi was left with only 2 daughter-in-laws who weren’t even of her type of people in a land that wasn’t her homeland with no real family.
This is where I want to start with my Words of Encouragement for today
Naomi tried to get the 2 ladies to leave after her sons died. She wanted them to go back to their families because she had nothing else to give them. Well Orpah did leave and go back to her family but Ruth refused. I love these verses in Ruth 1:16-17 NIV.
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”
These verses tell me a lot about these 2 ladies, one older and one younger.
First it tells me that Naomi must have been a great influence on Ruth. Ruth was a Moabite lady, but that didn’t stop her from Worshiping the God Naomi did – the ONE TRUE GOD!! Naomi must have shown her love, compassion, kindness, and so many attributes of God. Naomi was living with God in her heart which in turn caused Ruth to believe in this ONE GOD and to Worship this ONE GOD. Naomi taught Ruth how to be a respectful young lady and to love the ONE TRUE GOD.
These verses also tell me that Ruth must have been a very humble young lady who respected older women. She respected her mother-in-law. Ruth didn’t talk harshly to her but loving and compassionate. After losing her husband, she didn’t want to go back to her own family but wanted to stay with this lady whom she has learned love and about the ONE TRUE GOD. Ruth learned from Naomi.
In this story of Ruth and Naomi, Naomi an older lady and Ruth a younger lady are one of the few ladies actually wrote about in the Bible. Ruth, who ended up marrying Boaz and having a son named Obed which is the beginning of the lineage of Jesus, ended up being an important person at a young age and Naomi who may have been older ended up being a part of this great story by leading Ruth to Boaz.
Now to my point of discussion and encouragement….
Several years ago, about 2011, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and then in 2013 I was removed from my job by my doctor. I was a very hyper Type A Personality who had to be involved in everything. This was devastating to me. I felt like my life had no purpose. I felt like due to my health condition I couldn’t do anything. I felt like I was just here, living.
It has taken many years with much study and reflection on my past and future to learn. But it has also help me learn a lot about God. In this story of Ruth & Naomi in the Bible, God taught me the following points.
- Age – Age is just a number. Age means the length of time that a person has lived or a thing has existed. It has no other meaning but to tell time on this Earth. It doesn’t matter how old we are God has plans for each of us. Plans to prosper us. The Bible has so many examples of people of all age being used by God – Abraham, an older person, Moses, an older person, David a younger person, John the Baptist a younger person and I could go on and on…… My point is until are age has stopped (I mean death), we still have a Plan on this Earth. God doesn’t care how old you are. He knows He has plans for you and me. If you are still living, God is still working in you so your age doesn’t matter. Age again is just a number – it doesn’t mean anything!!
In one of the most quoted verses of the Bible Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
It doesn’t say, For I know the plans I have for you until you reach 50 or 60 or 70 or 80 or even 90…… It just says I know the plans I have for you PERIOD!
And the reason He knows the plans leads me to my next point.
2) Purpose – God has a Purpose for each one of you.
Just like with Naomi and her family going to Moab and her sons marrying Moabite women and Ruth having a child who would be in the lineage of Jesus, God as a Purpose for YOU!
This is something I have struggled with more since I’ve been removed from working than ever before. I actually don’t think I even thought about it until then – until I had those quiet lonely times with no one around.
I wonder – God what can I do…. I have to sit at home because I don’t feel good, I have no college degree, I’m not rich where I can travel and do whatever I please, I can’t do a lot of things other people can do, I can’t read very well, I can’t speak very well, I can’t, I can’t I can’t.
Well God has shown me through studying, spending quiet time with Him, and through other Christian Women and Men I DO HAVE A PURPOSE – GOD’S PURPOSE. I may not understand what it is or have it clearly wrote out here in front of me BUT I KNOW GOD HAS A PURPOSE FOR ME!
Just like me, God has a PURPOSE for each of you. You are still here for a reason. Until it’s your time He has you here to fulfill your PURPOSE. It may be to speak to the younger people and teach them, it may to be a friend to someone who has no friends, it may be to just smile to the person you pass in the grocery story. BUT YOU HAVE A PURPOSE!
Acts 13:36 in the NIV reads “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed.
We must all remember we will not leave this Earth until God’s Purpose for our life has been fulfilled.
So how do I know what God’s Purpose for my life is, when there are days I don’t even know where I’m going or what I’m doing or who someone is.
This leads me to my final point.
3) Trust – We must Trust God in everything. Trust means – firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. We must Trust in something we can’t see or touch. I believe this is one of those things that can be easy and hard at the exact same time. It’s easy to say I trust God, but then you have to put that Trust into action and that’s when it becomes harder.
Just like me deciding that I would write or speak for God – I had to Trust God. You see when I was in kindergarten and first grade I had to go to speech class because I didn’t speak words correctly. Neither one of my parents graduated from high school.
I’ve been told by a previous employer I have a country accent and people would just laugh at me so I must change the way I talk when speaking to the public. I can be very loud and laugh very loud and crazy……
But guess what – I HAD AND HAVE TO TRUST IN GOD’S PURPOSE FOR ME AT THIS AGE!!
I have to trust that if I pray about it and it is within God’s Word it is God’s Purpose.
I have to trust that God will not lead me astray.
I have to trust that God knows better even though I can’t see or touch Him.
I’m sure you have all heard this a million times from people much smarter than me that even though you may be older, you can still do things for God.
I want to tell you IT’S TRUE!! GOD HAS A PURPOSE FOR YOU IF YOU JUST TRUST HIM.
In the Bible God used the older believers more and used them to help with the younger believers. I’m not sure what God is calling you or telling you to do here in this church in your community or in your home, but I do know this.
He wants you to do it. He needs you to do it.
He needs you to do it to complete His plans and purpose on this earth.
He needs a Naomi to talk to a Ruth and be an encourager and teach her about the ONE GOD.
He needs a Moses to help lead His people.
He needs an Abraham to make this nation great.
GOD needs You.
GOD needs You to do what He has your Purpose for.
I’m going to leave you with this. On June 1, I received this in my morning emails from Max Lucado devotions. It says…
Da Vinci painted one Mona Lisa. Beethoven composed one Fifth Symphony. And God made one version of you! God custom-designed you for a one-of-a-kind assignment—“to each according to each one’s unique ability” (Matthew 25:15).
“The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others” (1 Corinthians 12:7). Did the apostle Paul say, The Spirit has given some of us?…or a few of us? No! “The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others.”
You don’t have to do everything! You are not God’s solution to society, but you are a solution in society. Don’t worry about the skills you don’t have. Don’t covet the strengths others do have. Just extract your uniqueness—to God’s glory!
In closing I pray you each know you are loved, worthy and you are here for a purpose. Trust God and do what He has planned for His Kingdom –
YOU ARE AN IMPORTANT PART OF IT NO MATTER YOUR AGE – IT’S YOUR PURPOSE – JUST TRUST HIM!!