Chapter 1 of the Book of Ruth
The sweep of scripture is filled with incredible events – miraculous deliverance, decisive battles, along with creation, conflict, crisis, and conquest. The events are impressive. We read of God saving people out of slavery into a life of obedient love. We turn the pages of the sacred text to find whenever God’s people were in trouble, He always raised up leaders and warriors who would direct, guide, and battle through great difficulty to redeem His own back to Himself.
Yet, in comparison to the Bible’s star-studded cast of characters, our lives seem unimpressive and extremely ordinary. We don’t feel qualified to even be extras in God’s great movie of redemption, really we feel more like outsiders. We tend to disqualify ourselves. Maybe it’s guilt, condemnation, or shame that gets a hold of us and we assume that everyone else is more spiritually fit than we are. We draw the false conclusion that we are not good enough to be a part of God’s story.
And then, when we are about to take ourselves out of God’s story, we come to this story of two widows and a farmer in a remote village.
Ruth was an outsider, not born into the faith, and felt no connection to it, like many of us today. But then Ruth found herself brought into God’s story and given a part that proved critical to the way things turned out. We’ve all thought, “I’ll never have the faith of Abraham,” or, “I could never lead like Joseph,” and “I’ll never see the miracles that Moses did.” After all, “how could God ever use me?”
But Ruth is the proof to the contrary. She was an outsider and a nobody whose life turns out to be essential for the telling of how God works among us. The unassuming ending carries and unlocks the story of redemption. You’ll have to read it for yourself.
Ruth, a woman well acquainted with loss and poverty, turns out to be the great grandmother of David, and the ancestor of Jesus. Ruth is the proof that it’s possible for each of us, no matter how ordinary, obscure or odd we may be, we are irreplaceable in God’s story.
Resist the urge to disqualify yourself.