Great Plains Daily Devotional for 11/8/2021

Today please be in prayer for

McLouth UMC
Oskaloosa: First UMC
Topeka District
Meriden UMC
Topeka District
Rossville UMC
Topeka District
Sabetha: First UMC
Topeka District

Today's Lectionary Text

Ruth 1:1-18

In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. When they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Chilion also died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.

Then she started to return with her daughters-in-law from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had considered his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she had been living, she and her two daughters-in-law, and they went on their way to go back to the land of Judah. But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back each of you to your mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find security, each of you in the house of your husband.” Then she kissed them, and they wept aloud. They said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. Even if I thought there was hope for me, even if I should have a husband tonight and bear sons, would you then wait until they were grown? Would you then refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, it has been far more bitter for me than for you, because the hand of the Lord has turned against me.” Then they wept aloud again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

So she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said,

“Do not press me to leave you
    or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
    where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people,
    and your God my God.
Where you die, I will die—
    there will I be buried.
May the Lord do thus and so to me,
    and more as well,
if even death parts me from you!”

When Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.

Today's Devotional

One of Stephen Covey's seven habits of highly effective people is "Begin with the end in mind." If we have a vision for where we want to end, we can make decisions that move us closer to that destination. As Ruth’s story begins, I think it is hard to envision her beginning with the end in mind.
 
When I think about Ruth, I always wonder why. Why does she decide to go with Naomi rather than stay; is it out of love, loyalty, self-preservation or something else? We don’t know why, but we see the result of her decision. She gives birth to Obed, David’s grandfather. She becomes one of only four women named in the genealogy of Jesus found in the first chapter of Matthew.
 
When I’m wondering if anything I do matters, I find some reassurance in the story of Ruth, it is a reminder of how our actions can impact lives far beyond our own. I can’t imagine she follows Naomi, knowing she would end up as an ancestor of David and Jesus. But her leap of faith on the road between Moab and Judah has that result.
 
We don't know how what we do today may impact the lives of people around us for years, or decades, or even generations from now. The kids who gather in the front of the sanctuary for a children's sermon this week will eventually be parents and grandparents. Sometimes I can't help but wonder if what they are learning about God and life within a community of faith will, in some small way, shape the lives of their children and grandchildren.
 
When I was baptized, a community of faith promised to live their lives according to the example Jesus gives us so that I “may be established in the faith and confirmed and strengthened
in the way that leads to life eternal.” They didn't know they were shaping the heart and mind of someone who would answer the call to serve in ministry, any more than we know today how we are affecting lives years from now. All we can do is live as Jesus calls us to live and trust that God has an end in mind even we may not see it.
 
--Michael Turner
Pastor, Osage City-Reading
michael.turner@greatplainsumc.org
 

 

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