I came across this article on Pinterest last week and knew I wanted to write a post about it. Sisterhood to me is really important. I’ve always valued solidarity among women even though growing up I’ve experienced a lot of the opposite. It’s true that girls can be mean. Girls can be catty. Girls can exclude you and become closer to other girls in the group over you. Girls can stop talking to you when they get a boyfriend..ha! But there are also times where your girlfriends just know you best. Or your mother can just tell something happened to you without you saying anything. Things like that are special..and to me having a solid network of faithful women is a critical part of being a healthy Christian woman.
When I read this article I noticed that it was from a “sister” that belongs to a different religion than me. She writes from the perspective of an LDS believer. For those that don’t know this is basically (from my humble understanding) being a Mormon. Now I don’t find “religion” in and of itself interesting. In my experience religion has a tendency to get messy. There are all of these denominations within Christianity and other religions and rather than unify people it creates legalism. It makes people strive for God’s favor. It makes people look down on others who are outside of their religious group. It makes us look at our works rather than what Jesus did for us on the Cross. It makes salvation and grace more complicated than necessary. Maybe this is because I’m not particularly smart when it comes to Apologetics and all that but I just don’t like to have religious debates or really delve into this sort of topic. Or tell people that if they speak to God in tongues or through music or through dance that it’s better or worse than doing it another way. Ultimately as long as we agree on the main things i.e. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no one goes to Heaven or can access the Father but through Him, etc I don’t think it always needs to be my business whether someone decides to take their children trick-or-treating on Halloween, or whether or not someone has a glass of wine at dinner. Things like that are not who I am and I don’t think Jesus came to Earth to argue with us about these things. He came to save us..not to enslave us. Nevertheless I feel like before I share this article it’s important to mention what Mormons believe and what I believe so that all of that is clear and whoever reads this does not get hung up on her religious background. Just because she believes some extra things that I don’t doesn’t mean that she can’t still be right on target with her thoughts in this article. Fair enough?
So let’s get this out of the way. I got my information about Mormonism straight from http://www.mormon.org/beliefs:
What I believe:
- Jesus Christ is the Savior and salvation only comes through Him
- I believe that the Bible is the Word of God and nothing needs to be added to it to make it more complete
- I attend church and that could mean that I follow the teachings of a particular “pastor” but I do not believe that preachers have any greater authority to talk to God than I do or you do. (Hebrews 10:19-21 MSG)
Although there are differences in what I believe vs. what she believes I think that her perspective on how women in church should support each other and her insights on Ruth are wonderful. I think in the world there is a lot of wisdom, and beauty in what people of other religions and experiences have to say. I find so many things inspiring that people create for instance–but ultimately it all needs to point back to and give glory to God. It should stir something up in me that draws me back to God or creates a curiosity to search for deeper meaning in life which will also bring me to search for God. And not just God..the God. Jesus. If there is anything else getting in the way of or distracting you from Him then we have a problem. To break this down I think if I watch a “secular” movie, or listen to a “secular” song, or admire a “secular” work of art there is no harm in that because I do think God can speak to us or draw us near to Him using anything. If God is a creator and we are all made in His image we are all creating something. Whether we are trying to point to our Creator or not we are still pointing to Him in some way whether it is conscious or not. He is the main thing. He is always the only thing.
With that in mind be open to what this article has to say–despite whether you believe in the religion she is participating in:
“I have loved Ruth (from the Bible) for a long time. However, I feel like I am just now, starting to understand her amazing character. She holds a place in a book of the history of the world that Heavenly Father wants us all to study in great depth. What is it about her that we are to understand and become?
Ruth was the daughter-in-law of Naomi. Naomi and her husband and two sons left their home of Bethlehem into the country of Moab which is east of the Dead Sea. At some point Naomi’s husband died and she was left in the care of her two sons who then married and lived in Moab for ten years.
We do not know how, but both of those sons also died. Imagine the grief of a mother who lost her husband and two sons. Not only must she grieve their loss, but she must also wonder how she can survive and get by. She is in a condition that her husband and sons would never want to see their mother in. She is a widow during a famine. She is truly destitute.
Naomi decides that she is to return to Bethlehem and her daughter-in-laws (Orpah and Ruth) went with her. Along the way Naomi tells them that they must return to their mother’s houses, or rather that they must return to Moab. Their responses were that “surely we will return with thee unto thy people”. And Naomi tells them that she has no more sons in her womb and they must return.
They wept together and Orpah returned to Moab, but “Ruth clave unto her” and gave her quite a speech convincing Naomi that she was not going to change her mind, “when she [Naomi] saw that she was steadfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.” So what we have here is a woman (Naomi) who is destitute. Never before has she grieved so much, and never before has her faith been tried so much. How would she survive? She is a widow with no sons, and during a famine! We don’t know about her family situation back in Bethlehem, but when she and Ruth arrive, Ruth “gleans” in the fields of Boaz. That means that when workers drop the corn they are carrying, that she would go and gather those pieces left behind – something only the extremely poor would do.
This is what I love about Ruth. First, she recognized the true needs of Naomi, and then she acted on it – even when it was hard and very inconvenient.
Naomi said to return to Moab, but Ruth knew that wasn’t what Naomi really needed. Naomi, maybe for the first time in her life, needed someone else to help her. She was out of options and Ruth was her solution. And not only could Ruth discern Naomi’s needs, but she had the charity to offer her exactly what she needed – at all costs.
Ruth was Naomi’s refuge, her sanctuary, her protecting wall (as President Packer put it).
Everyone one of us will have Naomi moments in our life. We will have times when we need true service from others, we will need a Ruth. We will need her to discern our needs and act on them, even when we are saying to “go back to Moab” – because we, like Naomi, don’t want others to be inconvenienced or disturbed because of our trying times.
We will also have many times when we need to be a Ruth. Where we need to learn how to discern other’s needs and then gain the glorious gift of really knowing how to serve that person – how to give them what they really need. And then we need the gift of acting on it until it is finished. Those are three separate things: 1- discerning the need, 2- knowing what to do for them, and 3- acting on it through its completion.
Discerning the need is the first thing that has to happen. This means that our eyes and hearts must be open to our sisters around us. We never know what each other is facing, but this is mortality and so we can assume that if there isn’t something now, there will be something later.”
“Imagine what Naomi’s story could have been without Ruth. Ruth is a true example of a gracious woman. She offered Naomi something that Naomi couldn’t get herself. And what is more Christlike than giving someone that kind of service?
The fascinating thing is that the story doesn’t end with Ruth gleaning in the fields. Ruth ends up marrying Boaz, the man whose field she gleaned in. She and Naomi were now part of a great and righteous family. And it doesn’t end there. Ruth has a son named Obed, and he will have a son named Jesse, who will then have a son named David. That is the David who slew Goliath, the David who will be the great King of Israel, and the David of whom the royal Davidic line is named after, and of whom the Messiah would be born. Ruth is a direct grandmother of Jesus Christ. I doubt she was thinking about that when she was walking through the hot desert to Bethlehem and when she was looking for corn that had been dropped.”
So a question we could all ask ourselves is this: Who in my life needs me to be a Ruth today? A question like that can invite angels to attend us as we join them in their efforts to save, to comfort, give help and hope.
I think she brings up a wonderful point. Sometimes as women we will be a Naomi and a Ruth. We will either need a Ruth and need someone to discern our needs or stand alongside us in our desert times, or we will be called to be a Ruth and be willing to be inconvenienced–to enter the unknown or the uncomfortable for the sake of someone else.
How can you implement what you’ve learned today?
-Do you need to reach out for help from a sister in Christ today?
-Do you need to be the answer to someone’s struggle or prayer today knowing it could be uncomfortable or inconvenient for you?
This applies to men too! Just because this was written by a woman for women about a woman in the Bible doesn’t mean the lessons aren’t true and useful for your life. I pray that we are ALL willing to ask for help or to be the helper today. I pray that we are never so blinded by our own religious affiliations that we cannot glean wisdom from other walks of life or beliefs. I pray that we always use whatever we experience, see, or find inspiring to glorify our Savior Jesus knowing it is through Him and only Him that we have unlimited favor, love and access to the Father in Heaven.
Photo Credit: Found on thehouseofhendrix.com