Aug. 18, 2009
“And so Naomi was back, and Ruth the foreigner with her, back from the country of Moab.”
Ruth 1: 22
“Who Am I Loyal To?”
“Our loyalty is due not to our species but to God…it is spiritual, not biological kinship that counts.”
C. S. Lewis
When I hear the word, “loyal,” what comes to my mind?
Who or what am I loyal to?
“Loyalty to organizations and movements has always tended over time to take the place of loyalty to the person of Christ.”
“When (women) cease to be faithful to their God, (she) who expects to find them faithful to each other will be much disappointed.”
There are days that being in Transformation Garden, with God’s daughters and sons around the world, inspires me in ways I could never have imagined. Today is one of those days!
Yesterday, I was a little concerned about our topic – “Accepting the Unacceptable.” I hoped that my words of encouragement to open our arms and hearts as Naomi did, would be correctly understood. I am overwhelmed by the wonderful response from God’s daughters around the world who shared with me the ways they are loving the fallen and while we may not understand or agree with certain behaviors or beliefs, yet God’s children have decided to rain down heaven’s blessed love upon these individuals who are family members, friends and even strangers. What a lesson the Godly Naomi left us by her heavenly acceptance of her sons’ Moabite wives.
However, we aren’t through looking at the lessons on improving relationships that Naomi’s life story has left us.
The second quality, after accepting her foreign daughters, which we can learn from Naomi, is loyalty.
Here again, at least for myself, when I hear the word loyalty, I think in almost military terms. I don’t believe I’m alone, because often the word loyalty is used to describe a relationship with one’s country. As long ago as 1588, Elizabeth I, headed out to encourage her troops at Tilbury where she rallied these military men with the rousing words: “I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honor and my blood, even in the dust.” This statement alone, gives credence to the idea that loyalty is often a term we intermingle with phrases like “God and country” or “family and country.”
However, I want to take another look at the word loyalty today as it applies to Naomi’s life and her family’s life.
I am not certain why Elimelech left Bethlehem, except for the fact the Bible says, “There was a famine in the land.” Some Biblical scholars surmise the move was not within the will of God but was undertaken by Elimelech to protect or secure his wealth. I don’t know if this fact is true. However, what is known is that the consequences of life in Moab were not good! Both sons married Moabite women and then all three men died.
One might make the assumption that such tragedy could cause one to toss God overboard and doubt His love. Sometimes heartache and pain do this to us. We lose our grip on the “One” we should be holding onto the tightest! Our faithfulness falters. Our loyalty loosens. And we find ourselves in a pit of despair. If God didn’t help us how and when we thought He should, why in the world would we put our trust in Him? Have you ever asked this question before in your own life? I even wonder, if during this misguided journey to Moab, Naomi didn’t find herself “inside” wavering just a little in her loyalty to her husband who dragged her and “Sickly” and “Pining,” her two boys, to this foreign country that God had said was off-limits to His children.
Here’s the important lesson for us today! If Naomi was discouraged, and in a few days we are going to find out that she was, she NEVER lost her faith and loyalty to God. She never lost confidence in what meant the most to her. Her daughters-in-law witnessed this loyal faithfulness everyday. And as George Horne penned, “loyalty to our God gives others the confidence that we will, indeed, be loyal and faithful in all we do.”
No wonder Naomi’s daughters-in-law chose to be loyal to her – she had built this quality in their lives from the building materials she had in her own life.
What a testimony this should be to you and me. “What” and “who” we are loyal to, will be reflected in every life we touch.
“God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.”
“Lord, it belongs not to my care,
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve thee is my share,
And this thy grace must give.
If life be long I will be glad,
That I may long obey;
If short – yet why should I be sad
To soar to endless day?
Christ leads me through no darker rooms
Than he went through before;
He that unto God’s kingdom comes,
Must enter by this door.
Come, Lord, when grace has made me meet
Thy blessed face to see;
For if thy work on earth be sweet,
What will thy glory be!
Then I shall end my sad complaints,
And weary, sinful days,
And join with the triumphant saints,
To sing Jehovah’s praise.
My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim,
But ‘tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with him.”
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, ChristianBook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal.
If you would like to purchase When A Woman Meets Jesus at a 30%-50% quantity discount for your Women’s Ministry Program or for Bible Study Groups, please visit:www.direct2church.com or email direct2church@Bakerpublishinggroup.com.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.