Read Ruth 1:16-18
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” 18 When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more. (NLT)
Our true friends stick with us through thick and thin. They may even forgo their own best interests to serve our best interests. There are not many such true friends around the place so we do well to discern them and value them. And even more crucially, seek to be such friends to others.
Ruth was such a friend to Naomi, her mother in law. Naomi was going back home to Bethlehem after being widowed. Despite Naomi’s urgings, Ruth was determined to accompany Naomi even though it meant going to what was to her a foreign land. Naomi was in for some hard times and Ruth was not going to allow her to face them alone.
Clearly, this involved considerable sacrifice for Ruth. But this is what friendship and love is all about. Loving friendship is not primarily about what benefit I can get from another person, or even how much I enjoy their company. There is more to it than that. It is about being faithful to that other person, committing oneself to their wellbeing even if it may at times affect our own wellbeing.
So many find commitment to anything or anyone a struggle. Friendships, marriages, employment, church membership, can all be very transitory. And that may be a disturbing comment on our character. As one writer has well put it, we are defined by the commitments we dare to make and care to keep.
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