Growing up in Sweden, I loved receiving visitors in our home. I associated visitors with gifts – boxes of chocolates, beautiful cakes, and flowers. As the recipient it was always such a joy.
My room would be converted to a guestroom as needed. Often guests left gifts. I have fond memories running to my room after they left to find my surprise. I favored the guests by the gifts they left. Their kindness did not go unnoticed.
I am reminded of individuals who did not go empty handed to the ones they loved. Naomi brought an amazing gift with her back from the country of Moab. There were gifts left by Boaz for Ruth; gifts brought to Naomi from Ruth, but my favorite-because I get to enjoy it too-was the gift of peace of mind left for us all by God.
Naomi returned home from the land of Moab empty handed, destitute, a sorrowing widow, without children, and bitter toward herself. Her husband’s decision to move the family to Moab led her into the darkness. God’s grace led her out and back to Him.
Ruth had heard about Naomi’s God and wanted to know more. Because of this, she was willing to leave behind everything she ever knew. Having lived abroad I know the significance of this move. Ruth’s kindness and loyalty to Naomi brought her to a new home and a new life; her commitment to her mother-in-law and a God she didn’t know is remarkable.
Naomi thought she was returning empty handed but, in reality, she was returning to Israel with what would be the greatest gift known to mankind-Ruth is listed in the genealogy of Jesus, remember?
In the pit of despair, Naomi couldn’t see the plan of God unfolding. She even instructed Ruth to return back to her family, back to her gods, but Ruth was determined to stay on the path that led to favor. It’s a lonely road for those who turn from favor. But Ruth clung to Naomi, sensing deliverance, no doubt. It wasn’t long and God began to shine His light into Naomi’s darkness.
When we can talk of little else but our dark circumstances, it is His hand that lifts us out of troubled waters and places us beside still waters. Often He pairs us with a sister who straightens our thinking, offers encouragement, and gives the strength needed to lift our head to watch God’s plan unfold. There’s no need to go it alone.
Jesus left us the gift of peace of mind and heart. (See John 14:27, NIV.) Don’t go empty handed to the ones you love. Bring with you His grace, His love, His peace, and His joy. Your kindness will be noted.
(Information from: PURE Newsletter – UPCI Ladies Ministries – firstname.lastname@example.org)