The Book of Ruth: An Introduction (Part 3) – Blossom Where God Has You Planted Right Now

Posted: October 18, 2017 in 08-Ruth
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The Book of Ruth: An Introduction (Part 3 of 4)
The third thing that we have to take notice of in the Book of Ruth is that it demonstrates faithful obedience to God leads us to God’s promises for our lives. It is ironic that this point comes to light right now this morning. I call it God’s synchronicity. God’s synchronicity to me is when I hear the message He has for me at the moment from multiple different sources. It could be a combination of words from friends or mentors, from something I read, from something I hear my wife say, from something I hear on Christian radio, you name it. It always happens close together in time. That’s when I say, “OK, God! I hear you!” Sometimes, I am a little slow on the uptake so God has to synchronize the message to me from multiple sources before I realize the a-ha moment.

On Tuesday, I began reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, Life Together, as part of my reading assignments for this, my second semester in the doctoral program at North Greenville University. With each night’s reading assignment, we must journal our thoughts about the things that grabbed us as read the selected pages. Last night, this is what I journaled concerning one of the main points of the selected reading:

We are bound together by faith, not by experience, Bonhoeffer says at page 47 of his book. So often, we taint our spiritual growth because we want to experientially feel those spiritual mountaintop experiences as measures of our spiritual health. We want the mountaintop experiences to define our faith and our depth of spirituality. We become disillusioned in our faith if we expect to have those spiritual highs that we sometimes are granted by God all the time. We can then become negative toward the body of Christ to which we are attached, because we are not getting the experiential highs that we think define spirituality. We sometimes let our faith be defined by the number and frequency of mountaintop spiritual experiences that we have. Many immature Christians live in this desperate rollercoaster ride of spiritual existence. They damage their local bodies of Christ when they become negative toward the body and may end up leaving one church after another because of the ever-present need and desire for mountaintop experiences of worship or of other special moments. When they are not getting spiritual highs close enough together, they are like junkies seeking the next fix. Whey their highs are not close enough together, they blame the local body and move on to the next church. All along the way, they damage the body and disrespect God. I lived this type of existence in my early years of being a Christ follower. Although I was not a church shopper, I did seek to reclaim those spiritual high moments. When I did not sustain a spiritual high, I thought something was wrong with me. Little did I know that being a Christ follower does not eliminate life’s ebbs and flows, and ups and downs.

Life is not mountaintop experiences all the time. Even after salvation, life goes on. Life is full of ups and downs. Life is full of more small moments that big ones. And, it is in these small moments, the small things that Bonhoeffer describes, that true faith is lived out. Faith is believing in God when life is mundane and nothing seems to be changing for the better. Faith is trusting in God in the everyday aspects of life. When we are faithful in the small things in life, it is a sign of our trust in our Maker. We trust that He has the big picture of our life in hand and that He will guide and direct us to the big moments of our lives where we experience the glory of God. We have to trust Him in what He has assigned us to at the moment, even if it is not some mountaintop spiritual moment of life. One of the things that God has been pounding into my soul through the working of the Holy Spirit here lately is that I need “to keep plowing the field in front of me.” I need to enjoy and thrive in the small assignments that He has for me now. It is only through plowing the field to which He has assigned me now and being faithful and diligent in my plowing that I will be readied by Him for the next field that He has in store for me. God has made it clear that I cannot be trusted with the greater things that He has in store for me until I find contentment in obedience to Him in the non-flashy work that He has assigned to me now. When I can be faithful and humble in the little things, He will trust me with the next field that will require bigger plows and bigger faith and bigger tasks when I am faithful in this field. This quote also shows me that if I am complaining selfishly for my desires rather than God’s will, I will be a thorn in the body of Christ. I will create fractures in the body simply by not being humble, faithful and obedient.

We live by faith not by experience and being thankful for the little things that God places in our hands all require trust. Trust that God has a plan. This trust requires humility, trust, faithfulness and a willingness to learn. When we are F.A.T. (faithful, available, teachable), we are of great usefulness to God through the body of Christ in which He has providentially placed us.

So, that idea from my journaling last night is the same idea that we get from the Book of Ruth. Ruth was faithful and obedient to the Lord that she barely even knew at first. She told Naomi that she would go wherever Naomi went. She said that Naomi’s people would be her people. Where you go, I go. She was faithful to that vow no matter how bad things got for her and Naomi. She shared in Naomi’s sorrows and was completed devoted to her. She could have easily given up and gone her own way but she was faithful to Naomi and it was through that faithfulness that she meets Boaz and then takes her place in the history of Israel as the great-grandmother of King David, the greatest king Israel ever had. And it was through the lineage of Ruth and Boaz that we find the earthly lineage of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What if Ruth had not been faithful? She would have been like Orpah – a brief mention in the history of Israel, the book of Ruth would not have been written, and God would have found another way to provide for the earthly lineage of His Son.

But that was not the case, Ruth was faithful. She was obedient. She plowed the field in front of her even with things looked their bleakest. She hooked her wagon to Naomi and held on even when it seemed that nothing but death and despair was going to come from it. She, by faith, knew that God would lead. She didn’t know what the result was going to be but she trusted that God was make something out of the situation. She knew that God would provide. She didn’t know what that was going to look like but she trusted it anyway.

God’s synchronous message to me is not to miss out on what God is doing in you and through you right now because there is something that you are waiting for God to give you. Be faithful in the here and now. Be usable here and now. Be faithful in the small things now. Plow the field in front of you with all your heart and trust God with what’s next. Trust that He will reveal it to you in due time. Trust that nothing is wasted. Be faithful to the assignment God has you in now and He will reward your faithfulness in what seems like less than the promise right now with the great promise of later. Never forget the here and now. Be faithful in the field that God has your hand to the plow in right now. God is a God of promise but He is also the God of the right here and the right now. Trust that He has purpose in the here and now.

Amen and Amen.

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