When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.
Ruth 1:18 NLT
The contributions mothers have made over the years are innumerable, and the struggles women have faced and overcome are worth remembering and studying as well. Thousands of single moms struggle to make ends meet and provide for their children, often with the ex-husband, father, or boyfriend giving little if any help at all. Even when the husband and father is in the home, the mom often takes care of many responsibilities around the house. And many countries’ histories are riddled with stories of how women have fought for equal rights.
Ruth has some characteristics that should describe all women of faith.
WOMEN OF FAITH ARE INDUSTRIOUS
An industrious person is a hard worker, and Ruth was that. She decided to leave her homeland and return with her mother-in-law to a foreign land. We begin to see this aspect of Ruth’s nature in chapter two: One day Ruth said to Naomi, “Let me go out into the fields to gather leftover grain behind anyone who will let me do it.” Being two widows with no man around to provide for them, they probably needed some things.
Ruth found a field where people were harvesting and began to follow those who were gathering grain. God had commanded his people in the law to leave some grain behind for the poor to gather. So Ruth did. Unknowingly to her, she chose a field that belonged to Boaz, a relative of her father-in-law.
When Boaz came to the field, he noticed her and asked, Who is that girl over there? In his reply to Boaz, the foreman said, She has been hard at work ever since, except for a few minutes’ rest over there in the shelter.
Numerous Bible verses praise hard work and industriousness. Making time for leisure, fun, and hobbies is equally important, but we should work diligently at what we do. We need to work hard at home, at church, at work, at school, and in any community organizations we belong to.
WOMEN OF FAITH ARE FAMILY ORIENTED
Family was important to Ruth. When her husband died, she could have stayed in her homeland, but she decided to go with her mother-in-law to a foreign land even though her sister chose to stay behind. When Naomi tried to persuade her to return to her homeland, she said, Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. I will go wherever you go and live wherever you live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. I will die where you die and will be buried there. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!
Later in the story, Naomi encouraged Ruth to ask Boaz to marry her. He was a close relative, and in Israelite culture, had this responsibility so that the name of her dead husband could be preserved. Boaz said of Ruth, The Lord bless you, my daughter! Boaz exclaimed. You are showing more family loyalty now than ever by not running after a younger man, whether rich or poor. Now don’t worry about a thing, my daughter. I will do what is necessary.
Having healthy families takes all the resources one can muster, and then some. Many things in our world assault the very structure and fabric of our families.
The apostle Paul deals with the basic structure that must be in place for families to be successful. To wives and husbands, he says, You will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Then he tells the children to obey their parents. Mutual submission and love on the part of parents—as well as obedience by the children, is necessary in families that expect to be successful.
WOMEN OF FAITH ARE NOT AFRAID TO MAKE THEIR FUTURES
Ruth did this in at least two ways. First, she decided to leave her homeland and confront a very uncertain future with her mother-in-law. Then, at Naomi’s suggestion, she decides to make her own future with another husband after her first husband died.
Women and mothers should not be afraid to make their future. With God as your guide, there is nothing you cannot do. Dream big, and allow God to guide those dreams. Don’t limit what God wants to do in your life.
WOMEN OF FAITH GUARD THEIR REPUTATION
When Ruth went to Boaz’s threshing floor to ask him to marry her, Boaz spoke of her reputation. Now don’t worry about a thing, my daughter. I will do what is necessary, for everyone in town knows you are an honorable woman.
In another place, the Bible says, Choose a good reputation over great riches, for being held in high esteem is better than having silver or gold.
An author friend once remarked, “Being a mother doesn’t always mean she’s given birth. A mother is the woman, who regardless of your faults, has loved you unconditionally. She’s made a difference in you. Knows you. Cares.”
Ask God to enable you to be a woman (or man) of faith.