Day 23: Is my life’s {work} defined by what I do or whom I serve?

Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel.  May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the Lord will give you by this young woman.”  Ruth 4:11-12

{work}

Work is a hard word at our house these days.  Every time my husband and I meet someone for the first time, he is asked, “So, what do you do?”  It’s a question which produces more angst, frustration, and sadness than I can bear to watch.  work

My husband struggles with how best to answer the question.  Should he say he’s retired or should he say he’s in between opportunities?  Should he open up the vulnerable place of stating his desire for another opportunity to work in his career field?  All the answers lead to more questions and ultimately reveal the length of time we’ve waited in this particular famine season.

We’re not farmers, but reading through the book of Ruth in this dry season on our journey, we have a new perspective on work – or the lack of it.  We have a new appreciation for the man or woman who desires to produce for their family, has the knowledge and skill, but at every turn finds the doors are closed.

The current work drought for my man feels much like the farmers’ in the time of the Judges who had land, seed, skill, and knowledge to grow crops in their fields, and yet they could not control the weather.  For all their effort, working hard to bring a harvest, the stuff of life beyond their control overwhelmed and a famine season was the result.

What {work} do you do?  It’s a question through which the core of our identity is revealed.  The question and the feelings it provokes for the positive or the negative can be a false sense of identity unless we are securely rooted in Whom we serve.

May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the Lord will give

I love this blessing on Boaz from his neighbors, friends, and family in Bethlehem.  Though Boaz most certainly was a landowner, a farmer and it seems clearly a man of good reputation and high status in the community, he was blessed to build a home and to bear offspring to bring glory and honor to the Lord God Almighty.  31 days gleaning bushel of wheat

I wonder when I am able to ask Boaz, “So what did you do for work back in Bethlehem?” what his answer will be.  Somehow I believe knowing he acted honorably as a kinsman redeemer, married Ruth and became the father of Obed and eventually the great-grandfather of King David all greatly overwhelmed the satisfaction received from working his job.  Maybe?  I look forward to asking Boaz this question.

 

Ponders:

  • This is my ponder today…  Is my life’s {work} defined by what I do or whom I serve?
  • Chewing on this Scripture from Colossians, I’m asking…
    • Lord Jesus, what do You want me to know about my life’s work?
    • How do You see me in my life’s work?
    • Will You teach me how to best honor You and serve You in my life’s work?
    • How do You want to shape my identity as a Christ follower through the work I do?  Would it change my perspective if I recognized my true calling is an Ambassador for You no matter the daily grind of my day to day activities?
  • How might I pray this prayer for my husband and others who are in a famine season of their life’s work?

we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy;  Colossians 1:9-11 esv

 

Day 16: What if we could {read} the script in advance?

She replied, “Wait, my daughter until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.”  Ruth 3:18

As I am spending these 31 days of October reading through the book of Ruth, I am using the word prompts for each day supplied by Kate Motaung (through her Five Minute Friday community of faith writers) to give me a focus for writing each day.  Today the word I’m pondering is {read}.

I’ve {read}.  And prayed.  Asked Holy Spirit to highlight Scripture from the harvest storehouse of Ruth 3 in which to glean truth and wisdom for my own life.  31 days gleaning with Ruth – it’s not just a catchy title of a series.  I am ‘real life’ questioning my way through a famine season grateful for those who have gone before. 31 days gleaning into the night

I can just imagine you – Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz – in that great throng of witnesses on the sideline cheering me on as I participate in the role God wrote just for me in His grand narrative.

And that is exactly what I am pondering today through this one verse Ruth 3:18.  What if we were able to read the script – the grand narrative of God – in advance?  What if read for a particular role?  Would we audition for the part we have?  Would we seek the starring roles?  Or would we rather have a role in the ensemble?

I wonder these things.  (My husband is nodding along right now.)  If Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz could have read the script in advance, would they be delighted with their role?  Would it make a difference in the way they lived out their story knowing the role they would play in history?

Or is it true that the unknown plot twists and unexpected changes in the setting are what character development is really all about?

In this one short verse so much truth is gleaned today.  It’s so easy to read a history and have a false impression of the intensity, the struggle or the dramatic tension of the real-life circumstances.  We read a story from the past with full knowledge of how it all turned out.  However, for those living it day by day, having not {read} the end of the story, the full range of human emotion and struggle to persevere is real.

Naomi and Ruth did not know for sure how their redeemer story was going to turn out.  Though Naomi was raised in the culture and understood the provision of a near kinsman, the exact details were not to be controlled by her.  As Naomi instructed Ruth, Naomi too would have to wait for the outcome and trust Almighty God who had not forgotten them after all.

Ruth trusted Naomi completely and followed Naomi’s instructions to the detail.  Ruth made herself vulnerable and allowed herself to be placed in a seemingly compromising position out of her love for her mother in law and her desire to have her husband’s name prosper into the future through a near kinsman.

Boaz, it seems would be flattered by the role he received, but who could know for sure.  He seemed a gentle, kind man who had protected Ruth in the fields.  Boaz himself was not sure how the whole transaction would be completed.  Even as Boaz declared his desire to buy the land of Elimelech from Naomi and take Ruth to be his wife, there was no guarantee.  Another man, in fair dealing, would be given the first option. ( 5 minutes)Bible {read}

What about me and the part of God’s grand narrative in which I have the privilege to participate?  I’m grateful I didn’t get to {read} the script of my role in advance.  Through this famine season, I am learning to give thanks for God’s sovereignty, for His goodness and steadfast love.  Truly it is a privilege to have been created with a particular role in mind, which could only be fulfilled by my one life played out in the company of all the others with whom I share this place in history.

Grateful too, as I once heard Beth Moore say, I have a place in God’s story just past Hebrews 11:40, as one of the faithful belonging to God’s family.  You too?

Those pages are surely kept in heaven and will be read for ages to come into eternity.  For now, we are able to read the narrative of God’s first faithfulness and love for us in the past, and His good plan for the future when we will live with Him forever without death or pain or anger or hate or defiance or loss.

And in the middle, we watch and listen for His direction.  We choose to participate, persevere in each change of setting, plot twist and allow the narrative to create in us the character and resemblance of our Lord, Jesus Christ… our nearest Redeemer.

Ponders:

Reading through Ruth 3 are you willing to place yourself in a role?  How might you feel, react and what might you hope for, pray and seek if you were Naomi?  Ruth?  Boaz?

  • Would you ask Holy Spirit to teach you what Father wants you to know about your role in His narrative?
  • Will you journal what He is teaching you?  Are there specific Scriptures highlighted for you as you pray and seek wisdom and understanding for your own life?
  • Do you know that you are written in God’s narrative of the faithful (Hebrews 11)?
  • For what in your role in God’s narrative are you thankful?  Who are the people who assist you in your role?  Who is God pointing to whom you might be able to assist in their role?

What if you could read the script of the rest of your life?  Would you want to or is it better to trust the narrative to an all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present and unconditionally loving God and Father.

Eyes on Jesus…you’re Shining.

~Lisa