Naomi said, “Look, your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Follow her. But Ruth said,
“Do not urge me to leave you or turn away from you. For where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God (Ruth 1:15-16).
Who doesn’t love convenience? From gadgets and appliances to schedules and travel, we all seek out whatever happens to be most convenient for us. Regrettably, however, we often apply the same desire for convenience to our spiritual lives. We’ll do whatever Christ asks us to do—as long as it doesn’t cause us any inconvenience! Consider the times when Jesus called individuals to follow him, and he got responses like “Lord, first let me go and bury my father” or “Lord, first let me go say goodbye to my family” (cf. Luke 9:57-62). Such individuals were perfectly willing to follow Jesus as long as they could do so on their terms.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with convenience, but we need to beware of how it can insidiously become an idol that encroaches on our commitment to follow Christ unreservedly. To prevent this danger from creeping into our discipleship and causing us to love comfort more than Christ, we are aided by studying the exemplary commitment revealed in Ruth.
1. Commitment is a choice.
After Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, had lost her husband and two sons, she decided the only course of action was to return to her home in Judah and absolve her two Moabite daughters-in-law of all obligations toward her. Naomi believed she couldn’t possibly ask them to leave behind their homeland, their families, their cultures, and their gods. Nevertheless, Ruth and her sister-in-law, Orpah, loved Naomi so much that they chose to remain with her no matter what inconveniences lay ahead (1:10).
2. Sometimes, it’s a lonely choice.
Naomi recognized the gravity of their choice and urged Ruth and Orpah to consider the fact that they would probably never marry again in Judah. While Orpah turned back, Ruth remained steadfast in her commitment to Naomi—even when she was the only one still standing (1:11-15).
3. It’s a choice tested by time.
Regardless of the inconvenience and the potential loneliness, Ruth wholeheartedly cast her lot with Naomi (1:16-17). The sincerity of such a commitment can only be revealed over time. It’s one thing to make a commitment under a certain set of circumstances. It another thing entirely to make a commitment regardless of circumstances (e.g. the traditional wedding vows, “For better for worse, for richer for poorer…”).
May Ruth’s commitment to Naomi reflect our prayer to Christ, especially when we become spiritually tired and disheartened. May the Spirit lead us to choose commitment over convenience.