June 7, 2018

Influence

By: Larry Shaffer

Ruth 1

The story begins during the time of the Judges, a couple of generations before David arrives on the scene. There’s a famine in Judah and a man named Elimelech from Bethlehem makes the difficult decision to lead his wife, Naomi along with their two sons to a foreign land, Moab. They must escape the famine.  Shortly after arriving in Moab, Elimelech died. A major setback to say the least.  However, life goes on and the two sons marry Moabite women, Orpah (not Oprah:) and Ruth. They lived in Moab for 10 years and then both sons also died. Maybe the whole Moab decision was a mistake???

Love, bond and devotion

I’m curious how the father and sons died but there’s no hint. I guess it’s just not relevant to the purpose of the story that God is writing about. What is relevant is that Naomi, broken-hearted and left without income producing men, determines to go home to Bethlehem. Naomi, who appears to be a Godly woman, filled with kindness and grace, told her daughters-in-law to return to their parents’ home. She said to them “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you as you have dealt kindly with the dead and with me. May the Lord grant that you find rest. Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.” There was genuine love, bond and devotion among these three women built over 10 years of living life together. I can only assume that Naomi was a wonderful, Godly mentor to these young girls, developing within them a love and devotion for the God of Israel. We will see that Naomi’s influence of Ruth was significant, life-changing and in this case, influenced history.   We never know how much God might use us in the lives of others.

Let’s be intentional

This brings us to consider our influence on others. Our words, our actions, our inactions, our prayers for others…all contribute to our impact upon those we meet and interact with. Please consider others that you can influence and then determine if you will be “intentional” as a mentor or just leave it to “un-intentional” influence. Being intentional takes it to a higher level of praying and planning with intent to take certain actions, allocate time and attention to the person(s) you hope to mentor. Prayerfully consider this calling today and may the Lord grant us His grace and love to be positive influences on all whom we come in contact today. Amen!