On Sunday we looked at the story of Ruth, and the power of committing to someone’s journey. The book of Ruth begins with Naomi her mother-in-law in a deeply dark place. She moves to a foreign country, and her husband and her two sons die. This leaves her alone in a foreign land, without support, without care, and with two foreign daughters-in-law.
She is hurt, spiteful towards God, and bitterness oozes out from her. She decides to journey back home. She is so bitter that when she arrives home and people say, “Is that Naomi” (which means pleasant in Hebrew)? She responds with, “No, call me Mara now” (which means bitter). So she has gone from being pleasant to bitter. She now totally identifies with loss, bitterness, and hurt as her companions. She says God sent her away full and brought her back empty.
This is the hard place that she is in. Yet in the midst of this difficult, and this Plan B, things change for her. Things change for Naomi because of her daughter-in-law Ruth.
Ruth commits to being with Naomi no matter what. Naomi seeks to push Ruth away, to say she can’t be helped, to say there is nothing that can be done (Ruth 1:11-13). But Ruth refuses to give up on Naomi. She commits to her that she will be with her no matter what. She says “Where you go, I’ll go, where you live I’ll live, your God will be my God. We will be together”.
And it is this commitment to journeying together that begins to change not only Naomi but also Ruth. Through a series of amazing events, God begins to restore to Naomi some of what she has lost. God begins to heal her. And this only happens though because Ruth committed to journeying with Naomi for the long haul.
The story ends with Naomi being happy and full of joy as she cuddles with Ruth’s new baby, her grandson. Her life moves from Plan B back to God’s promises.
From this story we landed on the main idea that we need each other. Not in the clichéd, hallmark, or sentimental way. But in a real – deep life – can’t get through life without one another. I need you, you need me, we need each other.
So we ended with a challenge. That for some of us we need to go be a “Ruth” to someone else. We need to commit to journey with them, to care for them, and to love them like Ruth did. And while we can’t be a Ruth to everyone in need, that is not an excuse not to be there for someone in need. That was our challenge.
We also challenged those of us who are in Naomi’s place to reach out to a “Ruth”. To not refuse the help that a “Ruth” can bring. To not push away that relationship.
Because the truth is the only way we get through life is with one another. This is the beautiful thing about the church ~ Naomi’s and Ruth’s commit to journeying together and both find a new hope in the process.
Big Idea: We need each other; we need to journey together.
- Here’s the truth and this one is thoroughly biblical: throughout life you will face one situation after another that will be completely beyond what you can handle. Pete Wilson
- We need one another to get through Plan B times.
- Naomi means “Pleasant” in Hebrew; Mara means “Bitter”.
- No longer are these emotions that afflict us, they are emotions that define us.
- Ruth commits to journeying with Naomi.
- People who are in a deep place of hurt often push away the only people who can help
- When you are in Plan B, you need community more than ever. Yet because of the pain that comes along with Plan B, it’s easy to miss the God-given gift of community. Pete Wilson
- We need one another.
- “I will go where you go. I will live where you live.” Ruth
- Just because you can’t help everyone does not give you an excuse to not help someone
- We can’t benefit from the power of community until we dare to face who we are. Pete Wilson
Adult Discussion Questions:
What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new?
Have you ever been like Naomi, so consumed by hurt, that it defines you? How did it happen? How did you move out of it? Have you ever had someone “be a Ruth to you”? What was that like? How did they commit to journeying with you? Why do you think it’s hard to be a “Ruth” to someone? Why do you think it’s hard to allow others to be a “Ruth” to us? Who is God calling you to jouney with? Is God asking you to allow someone to journey with you?
Discussion Question for Families:
Talk to your kids about the importance of caring for one another. Talk to them about how Ruth helped Naomi by being there for her. Ask your kids if there is anyone they know that needs someone to be there for them. Ask them about ideas for helping them, and then use their ideas.
Challenge for the Week: Be a Ruth to Someone; Invite a Ruth to Journey with You