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Have you ever woke up one morning and wondered why you keep doing what you’re doing?
They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing the same way, expecting different results. And for the most part that is true.
But sometimes, we keep putting one foot in front of the other because it’s the right thing to do.
There are times when we must choose what others call insanity for the sake of righteousness and remain faithful to God’s Word and God’s call, and trust that He will come through for us, even when we can’t see His hand right now.
Faithfulness in our culture today is an outdated concept.
We live in a short-term generation. We digest everything in sound bytes, and to the extent that something touches our emotions, as soon as we experience the next sound byte, we’ve already moved on.
We also live in a offended and highly intolerant culture.
It puzzles me that for as much as the word tolerance is banded about, if you dare to vary from the current narrative – even an iota, your friends will at best abandon you, and at worst publicly scorn your name until you dare not show your face in public again.
Faithfulness today has been replaced with the concept of “What’s in it for me?”
If my friend has a political belief that varies from the current narrative, and holds strongly to that belief, and even dares to voice that belief publicly, abandoning her is my best strategy to save my own reputation.
Because my friends will abandon me for not abandoning her.
What’s in it for me?
God Rewards the Faithful
Faithfulness – it’s an outdated term that, for many, has been incredibly costly.
For Christians in Nigeria right now, it is costing them their lives. There is literally nothing in it for them in this life when it comes to faithfulness to God.
And we see in our study in Ruth this week that there was nothing visibly in it for Ruth, either, in remaining faithful to Naomi.
What was in it for her?
Living in a culture where she was ostracized, mocked, and taken advantage of because she was a Gentile and not a Jew?
Getting up early every morning to go work in a back-breaking job in the heat, and coming home late at night to get a short-night’s rest, only to get up the next day and start all over again?
She could have stayed in Moab and remarried and remained a housewife.
What was in it for her? Not much that anyone could see.
But in the book of Ruth, you wont find one verse where Ruth complained about doing manual labor all day long, about how sweaty she was or how heavy the 40 lb sack of barley was.
She didn’t come home at night irritable demanding her relationship with Naomi be 50-50.
She got up every morning and joyfully did what she had to do to make sure that she and Naomi were provided for, despite the fact that it was hard work and at times potentially dangerous.
But faithfulness is more than just showing up and putting your time in.
Faithfulness is more than just staying married to your husband because of the children.
Faithfulness is more than just not throwing your friend under the bus because you have differences of opinion.
Faithfulness is more than just pulling in to your usual parking spot at church and planting your sitter in the same pew every Sunday.
Faithfulness is a resolute conviction that God’s Word is true and that He rewards those who faithfully seek Him and live their lives in accordance to His Word.
Ruth was faithful
What we see in the Bible – and particularly in the book of Ruth – is a faithfulness that is deeply rooted, it is constant, it is reliable, dependable, and long-lasting.
It is that person you know you can go to, when everyone else has abandoned you, and you can trust that they will stand with you – even if you don’t always agree.
It is the friend who will stand tall by your side, even when it costs them everything.
And this is Ruth.
She willingly got up every morning and headed to the barley fields, even though she knew that as a foreigner she had no rights.
We see in Ruth chapter 2 that it was not always safe for women in the barley fields (2:9, 22), that foreigners were not exactly welcomed (2:10), and that they were sometimes even verbally abused (2:15-16).
But God rewarded her faithfulness.
It wasn’t a coincidence that she “happened” on Boaz’s fields, who also “happened” to be a wealthy man and a relative of Naomi’s.
It was God’s reward for Ruth’s faithfulness.
As a reward for her faithfulness Ruth was:
- Protected (2:8-9, 21)
- Cared for (2:15-16)
- Honored (2:14)
- Well provided for (2:17)
God gave Ruth a safe place in a culture that often dishonored and mistreated women and particularly foreign women.
God placed Ruth in the fields of a godly man.
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27
God is looking for the faithful
Girls, in this disposable culture, where everything is short-termed, short-lived, and thrown away, let’s learn this lesson from Ruth.
While it may not always make sense to remain faithful when everyone else has moved on…
People may abandon you, criticize you, and even publicly shame you for remaining faithful to your convictions, but God will reward you.
He is looking for the faithful.
“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9
When we remain faithful and loyal to God, with a heart a peace knowing that God sees and God knows, we will find our reward.
And even greater than any reward here on earth, we will receive our final reward in heaven when we hear those words, “Well done good and faithful servant!”