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 3 – Why do I ever doubt God will {create} a way where there seems to be nothing?

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.  Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely if even death separates you and me.” 

So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.  Ruth 1:16-17 & 22

In the English dictionary, {create} means to bring (something) into existence. To {create} is to produce, fabricate, make, fashionbuild, or construct.{create}

In Hebrew (had to ask for a tutorial in BLB from my dear Bible-nerd friend, Kaitlin Miller) {create} has similar qualities, however with more depth of meaning and not limited to physical construction.  For example:

In English, we tend to think of creating as something we accomplish with our own creative mind, hands, talent, and skill.  Whereas the Hebrew word (Qal) indicates specifically, God is always the subject – to shape, fashion, create

  • the tangibles – the physical – heaven, earth and individual man
  • and the intangibles – new conditions, circumstances and transformations

As in Psalm 51:10Create in me a pure (clean) heart, O God – {create} in this verse actually means for God to shape, fashion, create, make or form a new heart out of nothing.  It’s not a renovation or re-fashioning of the old – fixing it up or patchwork.No, it is King David (great-grandson of Ruth) asking God to create and give him a new, freshly-breathed heart, which has never existed before.  In a fresh way, I wonder this morning if this is why God called David a man after His own heart.

I (God) will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 

And with all of these thoughts percolating through my brain this morning, I sit completely in awe of my God.  He who created our earth home – the tangibles and intangibles – He knew from before the foundation of this earth He would create, form, fashion a woman named Ruth.leviticus foreigners

Ruth – a Moabitess.  A foreigner.  How would she have ever had an opportunity to know about the One True God except that Naomi and her family moved out of their homeland and into Moab?

I’m in awe because I tend to think Elimelech made a mistake moving his family from their home (in a sense running from God) trying to escape the famine.  The GOODNESS of God washes over me afresh this morning as I contemplate the intricate details God had already thought of and established – the Law He created to take care of foreigners among His people.

The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born.  Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.  Leviticus 19:34

I focus in on the loving-kindness of God to {create} a way for Ruth where seemingly there was no way for her to be in the genealogy of King David and ultimately of Christ, our Savior.  And Naomi as well – even if she and her husband mistakenly left their homeland of Judah – God did a work in Naomi.  God took her ashes and created beauty from them.

I am amazed anew at God who takes my mistakes and messes and imperfect scenarios and creates something new.  Thank You, Holy Spirit, for creating in me new eyes to see Your ways are not my ways.  Hold my heart in Your Hands, God, and breathe it new so no root of bitterness might grow in my heart.  Breathe me new.  Create me new, my God.

I am the Lord, your Holy One,
    Israel’s Creator, your King.”
This is what the Lord says—
    he who made a way through the sea,
    a path through the mighty waters,
who drew out the chariots and horses,
    the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
    extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

 

Ponders:

  • Perhaps with a new perspective on create, is there anything you would like to ask God to fashion new in you?
  • Could it be a tangible creation or even an intangible creation – a transformation of your life?  Or possibly a creation of circumstances – fresh from the Hand of God?
  • Which of the scriptures above touches your heart for a particular purpose in your pondering with God today?
  • What other truth of God’s word might speak to your desire to be created new today?
  • Will you write it down and ask Jesus to sort it through with you today in the power of His Holy Spirit?

I bless you today to receive something created new from God as you seek the face of Jesus.

Eyes on Jesus… you’re shining!

~Lisa