Some people try hard to do good in their own ways but they lose heart after a few tries. Why is that? This is because they see no fruit of the goodness. However, just as it is the law of nature to reap whatever we have sown, the spiritual law is also to reap in due time as long as we don’t lose heart in doing good. In this lesson, let’s delve into a woman named Ruth who received God’s answers and blessings because she did good without losing heart in any circumstances.
1. God wants us to do good until the end
Jesus, the Son of God, came to the earth knew the hearts of His disciples who would work faithfully, how they would work, how they would be martyred and who would betray Him. On the night when Jesus was betrayed, Peter, one of His disciples said, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” Jesus replied, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Peter still said to Jesus, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” But Jesus’ words were fulfilled (Matthew 26).
Jesus also foreknew that Judas Iscariot would betray Him but He didn’t forsake him or rebuke him. He led him in love by letting him know what would happen in an indirect way until the end so that he would gain realization and reach repentance (John 6:64, 70, 71). If someone stays by a person all the time and loves him, even though he knows that he will betray or kill him, he may be a truly righteous and lovely person in the sight of God.
Without this kind of spiritual heart, one might think that if there is no fruit borne in doing good he is doing it in vain. However, God takes delight in and blesses men who do good with a heart that doesn’t change in any kind of situation until the end.
2. Ruth with a clean heart
After Joshua died the sons of Israel left God again and fell into idolatry. It resulted in being invaded by neighboring countries and the harvest was bad. Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons moved to Moab to avoid famine. Elimelech was the head of the family. After moving he passed away. Naomi became a widow and her two sons took Moabite women as their wives. One named Orpah and the other was Ruth. Around the tenth year of their marriages, the two sons also died.
Naomi’s family members went to Moab to avoid famine, but all men in her household died and she became a widow. How pitiful she was! What we should realize is that God’s children can’t live away from God just as fish can’t live outside of water. Bethlehem spiritually symbolizes the bosom of God but Naomi’s family left God and moved to Moab the land of Gentiles. This means they sought the world. Then, they couldn’t help but fall into serious troubles.
Her family’s situation went downhill, which caused hard times for her. One day, upon hearing that there was great harvest in Bethlehem, Naomi decided to return to her hometown. But her two daughter-in-laws, who had also become widows, troubled her mind, so she told them to go back their home. Her heart ached because her daughter-in-laws who would live hopelessly as widows in her country.
Orpah left weeping, but Ruth would not leave her mother-in-law until the end. When Naomi told her to go, Ruth firmly said, “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).
3. Ruth received blessings by unchangingly doing good
Ruth followed her mother-in-law to Bethlehem and never regretted her choice. She served her mother-in-law unchangingly with the same heart she had had at first. To support Naomi she gleaned the fields from morning till evening. She also obeyed her completely. She didn’t lose heart in doing good and she didn’t have a hard time. She didn’t want any reward, but she just considered it her duty and diligently served her mother-in-law.
These days, in Korea, there are many families suffering from conflicts among siblings in deciding who will live with and support their parents. If they choose goodness to follow their duties by believing God like Ruth, God will repay them with all the better things for sure. Ruth’s love for her mother-in-law was very great, and it was known widely around the town. Boaz who was rich and respected in the town heard about Ruth and did her a favor.
Boaz allowed Ruth to glean in his field until the end of harvest of barley and wheat. He was Naomi’s kinsman, one of her closest relatives and he loved God. Naomi knew he was one of people who could ‘redeem’ her. So, she asked a favor of Boaz. In the Law of Moses was the law of redemption of the land. It is the law by which one recovered his own land that had been sold or one took the wife of his kinsman who had died to carry on his family line.
Boaz knew that Ruth was a virtuous woman who was well-known by people in the town, so he promised Ruth he would redeem her land. There was another person who was a closer kinsman than Boaz, though, who had the right to redeem hers, but he had no love and rejected her. Boaz was the next person who had the responsibility to redeem it. He did it because he had love. In the end, Boaz took Ruth as his wife and begot a son. The son is Obed the grandfather of David. Ruth eventually became King David’s great grandmother and she was blessed to be listed in the genealogy of Jesus.
4. Ruth’s heart that was after God’s heart
Why could Ruth receive such blessings though she was a Gentile who came to Bethlehem following her mother-in-law? This is because her heart was after God. Ruth’s future life seemed hopeless, but she just sought goodness with patience. In such a desperate situation no one and nothing did she blame and moreover it was unimaginable for her to feel jealous, boastful, arrogant, or rude. She didn’t seek her benefits, didn’t think of anger or evil things. She just believed and endured all things. Ruth wanted nothing. Seeing her heart, God led her to the path to blessing.
Though there were many women in the history, the story about Ruth is one of the Bible’s 66 books. God wants all people to accomplish the same beautiful heart as Ruth and to receive the same blessings from God. Ruth was not an Israelite God had elected, but after being married and becoming a member of Naomi’s family she thought of God as her God and the Israelites her people.
We should have the same clean heart that Ruth did. That’s why as long as we say we believe God we should unchangingly believe Him. Ruth’s love for her mother-in-law was great and she fulfilled her duty more than she was supposed to. She didn’t forsake her mother-in-law. She gave up her everything such as freedom and youth, and just followed her mother-in-law and supported her until the end. It was because she had a truly beautiful and pure heart.
Today it is hard to find someone who has such a heart. People don’t want to be with someone who has opinions different from theirs or who doesn’t agree with them. Then, if the situation were as desperate as Ruth’s, would you be able to take the way she did? Ruth loved and respected her mother-in-law with all her heart, so she deemed her way to be a right and proper duty and happy in fulfilling the duty.
Happiness and unhappiness are not decided depending on one’s circumstances. It depends on the heart of goodness. It is not that Ruth did good for any reward, but God gave her back with a blessing for her goodness. In the same manner, if we don’t lose heart in doing good, we will surely be blessed.
A person with a good heart doesn’t stop it after trying to do good several times. Such people do good without changing because it is the will of God to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others and they follow the proper duties of men. Therefore, I hope you will not lose heart in doing good, but steadfastly act in faith so that you can receive answers to prayer and great love from God.