As I set my Bible down after reading the book of Ruth, one word comes to mind: loyalty. Ruth was loyal and her loyalty was noticed my many. Ruth was from the land of Moab. She married Mahlon, the son of Elimelech and Naomi, who were from the land of Judah (Tyndale Bible Dictionary). After Elimelech and his sons died, Naomi departed from the land of Moab to return to the land of Judah. Naomi told Ruth to return to the house of her father and mother, but Ruth insisted she stay with her, saying, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back 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 I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me” (Ruth 1:16-17, NASU). Soon after, Ruth returned to the land of Judah with Naomi. Boaz commended her for her loyalty to her mother in law saying, “All that you have done for your mother in law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people that you did not previously know” (Ruth 2:11). The word loyal means unswerving in allegiance, faithful in allegiance to one’s lawful sovereign or government, faithful to a private person to who fidelity is due, or faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution, or product (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary). As a woman who is learning to fear and please God, I have to ask myself: What would someone say about me? Am I loyal to God through my thoughts, words, and actions, just as Ruth was loyal to Naomi?
I will be the first to admit I fail when it comes to my thoughts, especially when I am driving. Since my husband and I moved to Oklahoma three years ago, I have been in two car accidents. In the first accident, I was hit by a car that ran a red light. In the second accident, my friend and I hit a car that was turning left. Because I have been in two car accidents, I do not tolerate offensive drivers and sometimes I do not have the best attitude. My point is not to bash Oklahoma drivers, nor to justify my bad attitude, but to apply what I am trying to say. I find myself gripping the steering wheel tightly while growling, or I mumble, “Jerk” under my breath when someone cuts me off; nevertheless, I have to remember these thoughts are not pleasing to God. Galatians 5:22 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; against such things there is no law.”
To gossip is to talk idly, especially about the personal or private affairs of others (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary). Romans 1:29 says, those who are unrighteous, wicked, greedy, evil, full of envy, those who murder, cause strife, are deceitful, and have malice are gossips. 2 Corinthians 12:20 says, “For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish – that perhaps there my be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.” According to these verses, gossiping is just as offensive as being unrighteous, wicked, greedy, evil, envious, deceitful, jealous, and angry. Nursing School is stressful, and sometimes I blame the stress I have on my instructors. As I complain, my husband reminds me that I am blessed to be in Nursing School since there are a lot of people who do not get accepted nor have the opportunity to go to Nursing School. Most importantly, my husband also reminds me that I should not talk negatively about my instructors because it is not pleasing to God. I am thankful for his encouragement and his reminder not say negative things about others.
My actions speak of who I am, and I want to be loyal and pleasing to God through my actions. Nevertheless, there are many times I fail to do the right thing. When I decide to study my nursing textbooks more than my Bible, or show up to worship late, when I would not show up to school late, I am not setting the best spiritual example to those around me. I have learned that I have to make God my first priority; it does not just happen. As a Christian, I have to sacrifice the things I want for the things I know please God. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” This is hard since sometimes this means I will not do well on a test because I went to Bible class instead of staying home to study, but the best things in life do not always come easy.
Although I would love to have a reputation that is pleasing to God that can be seen by others, my goal is to have a heart that is loyal and pleasing to God because of who I am when no one else is around. It is hard at times, but I am thankful that I have Ruth’s example to reflect upon, and I am reminded she was blessed because she was loyal even when it may have not been easy.
By Kerstin Allison
Kerstin and her husband, Britton, are graduates of The Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. They now live in Oklahoma City, OK and worship with the church that meets at North MacArthur. Currently they are going to school and once they are finished, they hope to do international mission work.