Awkward Races and Unexpected Places, Part 3

“So Naomi returned from Moab, accompanied by her daughter-in-law Ruth, the young Moabite woman. They arrived in Bethlehem in late spring; at the beginning of the barley harvest…So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she [Ruth] was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek.”

Ruth 1:22, 2:3

Although Naomi had returned to her hometown bitter and bankrupt, God had a new chapter to write in her story AND in Ruth’s story. These two homeless widows were in desperate need. To help improve their situation, Ruth decided to glean in the fields, picking up the scraps that were left behind by the harvesters.

This is where the story begins to really get interesting! There’s one little phrase in this verse that pops out – “as it turned out…”  – indicating happenstance. But we know that God doesn’t do coincidences! No, God was undoubtedly directing her adventure. Every step of it!

While Ruth is hard at work collecting dinner for her and her mother in law, she catches the eye of Boaz – the owner of the field. He tells his servants to let some extra scraps fall to the ground for Ruth to glean. Ruth is a smart girl and realized what was going on. She enthusiastically tells Naomi all about it when she gets home. Naomi goes to work as a good mother in law would and quickly discovers that Boaz is a close relative, what was called a “kinsman redeemer.” Since Ruth and Naomi were widows, they’d lost everything  – their land, their homes – when their husbands died, the kinsman redeemer had the power to “buy” back or redeem all that had been lost. Naomi wittingly concocts a plan, an awkward plan at that, for Ruth to capture the heart of Boaz.

Fast forward to the end of the story:

“So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.”

Ruth 4:13

…and they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David – the greatest king of Israel, whose descendants later will give birth to the Messiah, Jesus Christ!

Ruth goes from being a homeless, widowed foreigner, from a pagan-worshipping family, to being used by God and eventually the grandmother of Jesus. There was no way that when Ruth was at her starting line, clinging to Naomi, she could have dreamt to be THERE…in this UNEXPECTED PLACE of blessing. My God can redeem ANY situation!

Have you ever found yourself in an unexpected place, asking the question – how did I get here? Maybe you’re in that place right now!

You see, all of us will run a race – one marked with obstacles, pain and challenges. If you’re not there right now, some day you will be, like Ruth, in an unexpected place. It’s up to you to choose who you will follow in this race. Ruth followed Naomi who led her to her “kinsman redeemer.” You need a leader, too. One you can depend on to get you to the place of blessing.

Even though every love song you hear and every chick flick you watch will tell you differently, I’m going to tell you, “Don’t follow your heart!” Don’t get me wrong, your heart is beautiful. It’s full of great capacity to love, grow and expand. But it’s not a great leader. I’ve seen the biggest mistakes made from the place of a broken heart.

In your race don’t follow your heart, follow Jesus! He is the author of your race and created you with kingdom potential. God has so much ahead for you. But your race can only be run and won, one small step at time. That step will lead you to the path of your purpose.

Don’t let your mistaken steps keep you from your path, because the small steps you take today, will determine the big stories you tell tomorrow. 

  • Step into forgiveness – Don’t let pain or unforgiveness hold you back. Instead choose to strip off the weights that hold you down so you can run with perseverance the race marked out for you.
  • Step out of your comfort zone and into relationships – healthy relationships will help you keep your commitments to wait for God’s best.
  • Step up your friendships – come alongside one of your sisters who is waiting on you. Waiting on you to befriend them – pray for them – help them walk closer to Jesus. It may be that God is saying, “This is the time for you to build My kingdom this way – one sister at a time.”

I want to challenge you to take a step today!