I’ve heard the story of Ruth many times. The commentary given along side the story usually describes her as a loyal and committed friend. Yes, those are good traits, but they don’t fully explain her motivation. After reading Ruth 1 today, I am wondering again, why did Ruth stay with Naomi? Even Naomi saw that Ruth’s life could be more full if she stayed in Moab. After-all, Naomi would not be having any more kids, nor will she marry again. These would severely limit Ruth’s opportunities. But, something in Ruth told her otherwise. She saw something that was bigger than being married and having kids. She saw something better than mere loyalty. She saw God. Ruth knew that God was with Naomi. She also knew that God was not found in Moab. The only logical conclusion for Ruth was to choose God, which meant staying with Naomi.
Ruth is not the only person in the Bible that chose God over other, seemingly bigger, opportunities. Consider for a moment Jesus’ conversation with his disciples in John 6:66-69. After being deserted by many disciples, Jesus turns to the twelve and asks, “Do you want to go away as well?.” The response that Peter gave reminds me of Ruth. Peter responded to Jesus saying, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Do you hear it? Peter knows that the biggest and best opportunity available to him is to be near Jesus. Nothing will distract him from it. Isn’t Ruth’s response the same? She knows that husbands and children are second to God. She, like Peter, chooses God first. The rest, will follow (Matthew 6:33).
If you choose to keep reading through the book of Ruth, you are going to see that she made the right choice. God honored her choice. What are you choosing today? Just like Ruth, God is the bigger and better opportunity for us. Find a place that God is working and follow him there.