Lent Devotional: Ruth 1:15-18
by Jonathan Haefs
Ruth 1:15-18 (click here to read the entire passage)
…Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where 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. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” (Ruth 1:16-17)
“Where you die I will die.”
Well that’s intense.
These are the words Ruth said to her mother-in-law Naomi after Ruth’s husband had died. She didn’t have to say this. In fact, it would have been to her social advantage to depart from Naomi… to go back home… to remarry. Yet, she said she would stay… always. Why?
The simplest answer is that she loved Naomi more than she loved herself. The only future that Ruth wanted was the one that included Naomi, no matter how bleak that looked to the rest of the world.
If going with Naomi meant poverty, then Ruth was willing to embrace poverty. If going with Naomi meant hunger, then Ruth was willing to go hungry. If going with Naomi meant death… then Ruth was willing to look death in the face and say, “Where you die I will die.”
Is there anyone or anything in our lives about which we are willing to say these same words?
Is there anyone or anything about which we are this intense?
As Christians, we are all ready to shout the Sunday School answer, “Yes! Jesus!” But is it true? We can know if it is true… all we have to do is put ourselves in Ruth’s shoes.
Instead of Naomi, we find ourselves standing there with Jesus. What if going with him means poverty? Will we embrace poverty? What if going with him means hunger? Will we go hungry? What if going with him means death? Will we look death in the face and call it what the apostle Paul does in Philippians 1:21… “Gain!”
You see, the amazing truth of the gospel is tied up in that one word, “gain!” Because, no matter if I lose everything, if I get Jesus I still gain! There is no greater treasure than him!
So, analogous to Ruth with Naomi… the only future I want is the one that includes Jesus! I don’t care if that takes me down the bleakest looking path in the eyes of this world… even if it takes me to death!
We are a people who call death gain… and yes, that’s intense, but that’s because Jesus is intensely worth more than life itself!
Ruth loved Naomi more than her own life… may we love Jesus with even more intensity!