Now my daughter, do not be afraid. I will do for you whatever you ask, since all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.
Ruth 3:11 NLT
Hardships come to us all. There was a time growing up when I was about middle school age and all we had was some canned food in the cabinet. I remember feeling sad and wondering why we did not have what we needed. I knew though all that mattered was that I needed to feed my little brother and sister. They weren’t going to be sad on my watch, so I made the best meal I knew how to out of what we had. I smiled and told them we were going to be so cool because we got to eat food that people usually eat when they camp out.
Let me tell you my attitude made all the difference in the world! We all ate and had a good time. I was just grateful we even had what we had. I have never forgotten this moment though, I could have thrown a pity party, grumbled, and stomped around. Honestly, who would blame me if I did under those circumstances? I chose instead to put my sibling’s needs above my sadness.
When you are faced with such challenges how do you respond? Ultimately, the choice is yours. Ruth was known as ‘a woman of excellence’. I can think of many things I have been known for, but none of them have ever rivaled being ‘a woman of excellence’. What must her character have entailed to be known as such a woman?
There are three specific parts of her character I noticed she developed that we can apply in our everyday lives today.
This woman held fast to her encouraging outlook on life. Her husband died, she had no heirs, her father in-law died, she had no money and no roof over her head. Her sister in-law chose to leave (one of the only other people who grew up with the same customs and shared experiences as Ruth), and even still Ruth rose to the occasion of leaving everything she had ever known to be at Naomi’s side. Everywhere she turned she endured wave after wave of crisis. However, she still spoke positive things and behaved in an upright manner. Ruth’s attitude was not dictated by her life experiences. When she gave her word she made sure to keep it!
Ruth was a hard worker. All day she would spend in the fields gathering what others left behind so she could provide the best way she knew how for her and Naomi. She was not ashamed or degraded by the type of work she performed. At first I am sure she endured the harsh reality of being the ‘new kid on the block’. Time passed and she won everyone over. People were watching her work alongside them as the days passed. She did not go out and sit down and daydream all day. She worked and she worked hard.
The kindness Ruth showed Naomi reached the whole city. Everything she did was out of love and kindness. Ruth chose to stick with Naomi and endure whatever came their way. She chose to stay every day as Naomi complained and became more and more bitter. She did not know if any of it would end or if it would continue to grow worse. Even still she always displayed an attitude of gratitude. She showed and told of her gratefulness.
Redemption was on the way though.
So, he said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth your maid. Spread the hem of your garment over me, for you are a close relative and redeemer.” Ruth 3:9 AMP
“It is true that I am your close relative and redeemer…” Ruth 3:12 AMP
So Boaz redeemed her, but Ruth changed her life, Naomi’s life, and his life, by having excellent character traits. The most basic of her needs would be met now. The struggles had passed. Struggles do not last forever, but it sure seems like they do when you are going through them.
Character filled with excellence does not go unnoticed. It is when we are at our lowest, stuck in the deep depths of muck and mire that true character development takes place! Next time hardship comes your way how will you respond? Will you hold fast like Ruth or crumble bit by bit like Naomi? You have the power to choose.
Featured image by Larisa Birta