My friends, I hope you have been challenged to listen with a God-softened heart in this last week and you have made an attempt at making harmony where there was conflict in your life.
As we continue in our series on how God’s Word guides us on the path to godly leadership, today’s lesson on godly leadership is derived from the story of Ruth and Naomi found in the book of Ruth.
Both of these women had endured incredible loss as both were widows, and Naomi, in particular, was a widow in a foreign land. We learn from the text that Naomi had encouraged Ruth to return to her parents as Naomi had decided to return to her home of Bethlehem to live out her days with her own people.
We see how Ruth insisted on staying with Naomi as she shared the dream in her heart found in Ruth 1: 16-19:
“But Ruth said:>
‘Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.’
When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her. Now the two of them went until they came to Bethlehem.”
This text speaks so clearly of Ruth’s commitment and determination, both strong qualities found in godly leaders. But it is Naomi’s leadership in this story that is especially striking to me.
Even while fighting a season of bitterness in her own heart, Naomi found a way to encourage the dream of others.
Godly leadership recognizes the spark that God has placed in each of us and works to see that spark enrich the lives of others. Naomi could have remained a bitter widow with no concern for others, but she saw in Ruth a chance for her family name, memory, and prominence to continue. She saw a chance for Ruth to create a legacy that Naomi herself could not create, and she breathed life into it.
In Ruth 3 the text shares the instruction that Naomi gave Ruth after she learned of Ruth’s acceptance into her community the chapter before:
“Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, ‘My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you? Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.’
And she said to her, ‘All that you say to me I will do.'”
Naomi knew Ruth’s dream was to be included in the household of her mother-in-law and to pursue all that the culture had to offer. So, Naomi coached Ruth on how to secure her dream, and that is what godly leadership can do.
Despite some of life’s most difficult circumstances, Godly leaders are able to encourage the dream in others. Ruth went on to be redeemed by Boaz, who married her, and they gave birth to a son named Obed. Obed’s grandson was named David—the eventual king of Israel. By focusing on helping Ruth realize her dream, Naomi added value to Ruth’s life, and created a legacy of royalty in the family of God.
My friend, if you want to see value added to your life, figure out how you can help those around you realize their dreams, and then see how God blesses you on the journey.
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