So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it. I Thessalonians 5:11 msg
The book of Ruth is full of individual people simply living their lives while under God’s direction, and in His Sovereignty, their life circumstances became stories of experience. And it was through the sharing of their stories a woman was introduced to the love and redemption of God, another was redeemed from hopelessness and a family name and lineage was preserved and ultimately became the lineage of Christ.
Just in the first two chapters of the book of the Ruth, it is evident sharing stories brought hope and encouragement. Naomi heard. Ruth heard. The people of Judah heard. Boaz heard. As they heard, they were each moved to action. Naomi heard the famine was over and went home. Ruth heard and chose Naomi’s God for herself. The people of Judah heard and welcomed Naomi home and embraced her foreign daughter in law as one of their own. Boaz heard and offered safety and provision.
Truly amazed once again, as I glean again in the harvest fields of God’s word in Ruth this morning, at the power of our story. And freshly encouraged by what I already know is true, I am inspired (I hope you are too) to persevere in sharing my story as it is pertinent and the door of opportunity is opened before me.
I’m embarrassed to confess this, but sometimes I am tempted to believe my work doesn’t really matter for the Kingdom of God. I’m just a receptionist, you know. It seems surely I could make a bigger impact if I was a real writer of books or a speaker to groups gathered to hear Truth. (I know, believe me, I am so embarrassed to confess this in public)
And then I hear myself at work sharing my life story with person after person standing in front of me seeking an answer to a question. I have begun to realize God has given me a place to share my story – a hundred different snippets of mothering, marriage, aging parents, time management and priorities in faith, work, family, and so on and so on.
I realize just this school year, I’ve encouraged countless mothers with pictures and stories of my own two sons, who attended this same school years ago, with the truth – “Yes, they do grow up.” I’ve laughed and pointed to the trendy gray streaks in my hair as evidence it hasn’t been easy, but “You’ll get there, mom, I promise!”
Recently, I rejoiced with someone whose family member came out of a coma and offered condolences to those who are grieving and encouraged someone to enjoy their aging mother more than worry about getting work done.
God set this stage for me. I realize even as I type this, He has given me what I’ve longed for all along – a place to interact with people, their stories and mine shared together to create community. It doesn’t look like the stage I would have designed for myself, but I receive it as a true gift from God. May I be faithful in stewardship over the position and privilege He has given me.
Our life stories intricately woven together by God become the beautiful, colorful pattern of His-story. As we glean from Ruth, our story in His story has an eternal impact.
May he restore your youth and care for you in your old age. For he is the son of your daughter-in-law who loves you and has been better to you than seven sons!” Naomi took the baby and cuddled him to her breast. And she cared for him as if he were her own. The neighbor women said, “Now at last Naomi has a son again!” And they named him Obed. He became the father of Jesse and the grandfather of David. Ruth 4:15 – 17 nlt
- Do you know your life is a significant story?
- What does Jesus want you to know about your story? Will you ask Him for His view of how your life impacts your corner of the world for His Kingdom purposes?
- What aspect of your life story are you most likely to share?
- In what format or setting do you most enjoy sharing your story with others? Do you find that others open up and share too when you begin to share your story?
- Do you avoid sharing your life story because of a difficult chapter or two?
- Are you able to identify the reasons why you feel your story can’t be shared?
- Are there feelings of guilt, shame or unworthiness tied to your story?
- Since the word of God tells us we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony –
- what might Jesus want to reveal to you about
- the power of His blood to redeem any story – even yours
- the importance of your story
- the power of your story redeemed as a result of His sacrifice
- what might Jesus want to reveal to you about
- Would you be willing to ask God to open the door of opportunity for you to share your story?
- What’s the worst thing that could happen by sharing your story?
- Is it worth the risk?