As I was studying for this new series of lessons I decided to start with Ruth. As I was listening to and reading the book of Ruth (I recommend listening and reading, it involves two of our senses thus making it more powerful and memorable!) I started noticing a theme of her attributes. I also got to thinking about how usable she was for God’s work and how those are traits He is looking for in a usable vessel. So let’s review those traits. I recommend reading the book of Ruth before starting this so you get the feel of the theme.
What God is looking for in a woman that is a usable vessel:
Persistent: Ruth would not be talked into turning back and leaving her Mother in law. God is looking for those who are willing to join up with a cause and not be deterred from it!
Sold out: she was completely sold out. 1:16 “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:”
Committed to the death: 1:17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.18 When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.
Flexible: she was willing to go where she was called even if that meant a foreign land or culture. You can apply that where ever needed in your life. You know what God is calling you to be flexible to do.
Initiative: 2:2 She suggested a solution to their problem of food. She wasn’t waiting around for someone to give her instructions or idea, she took the initiative upon herself to find a solution. Don’t let fear of what others might think keep you from taking action on a idea if it’s in God’s will!
Willing to be uncomfortable: what part of Ruth’s life in this story sounds comfortable? None! It all sounds terribly uncomfortable for the flesh! God is looking for those who aren’t afraid to be uncomfortable in all senses of the word……..physically (fasting?!), emotionally (reaching out to someone!), spiritually (ever been in an uncomfortable place spiritually when God lays a burden on you?) In a physical world God needs physical bodies to be his hands and feet. That means there are going to be some uncomfortable times coming! Who else gets more comfortable and set in their ways as they get older? God needs someone comfortable with being uncomfortable!
Willing to sacrifice pride: this whole story is one of her sacrificing her pride. We’re not sure why she decided to follow her mother in law when she was released from it but maybe she heard about the God of Israel and was willing to sacrifice her pride in order to get to a place that would put her closer to him? How many times has my pride kept me from getting closer to him? Would I be willing to pack up and move just to be closer to him? To sacrifice my pride and do the things that I know will make me more usable?
Trusting: 2:9 She had to put her trust in Boaz (and God!) that he would protect her and provide for her with the leftovers like he said he would. Had she been skeptical like some of us and decided to do it her own way I wonder if she would have been in the lineage of Jesus? We have serious trust issues these day’s and some of it is understandable but that is something we should be praying about. God uses people to help people and how can we be helped if we can’t trust? (Proverbs 27:17) It’s time to lay down some issues and give some grace and trust again. God can restore!
Humble: 2:10 She was humble. She knew her place. She was not prideful and lifted up. She was able to bow herself to the ground in respect of her position and his position. (yes I know that isn’t something we do today, don’t freak!) But we can be humble in spirit and actions without making obeisance to someone. We can also be prideful in spirit and look humble. It’s always a good thing to examine our spirit and actions and see if pride is behind any of them.
Willing to assimilate into her new culture: Yikes! This is a hard one! While there are some cultures and environments we don’t want to assimilate into there are some that we do! The church is the best one! The church is the body and that means we are all members! No one stands alone, there are no body parts that aren’t a part of the body! The enemy is looking for those that don’t assimilate, those on the fringes that are weak and easy pickings! Get into the safety of the body!
Accept charity when needed: ouch! I know this one is hard too! We are strong women that pride ourselves in not having to take charity and that’s good! But there are times when you need to accept charity if for no other reason that it allows someone the opportunity to bless and be blessed!
Submissive to her mother in law: goodness these just keep getting harder don’t they!? I’m not going to say too much about this except to say that there are times when we have to be submissive to someone else. There are times in life that you need the influence of someone older or wiser. There are even times when the ignorant (this is not meant as an insult 🙂 can minister to you not even knowing what they are doing. If we have a submissive heart we will accept correction and instruction from those God places in our lives to help us.
Willing to risk her reputation: 3:14 Ruth was willing to do whatever she was asked to do and risk her reputation. I don’t condone doing what she did in this day and age because that is not our customs but there are some things we are required or asked to do but refuse because we are trying to protect our reputation. This subject probably hinders the move and work of God more than anything else. Pride in our reputation. Do you know what reputation means?the estimation in which a person or thing is held, especially by the community or the public generally; …………….the ESTIMATION………are you ok with your salvation being controlled by someones estimation of who or what you are? Not I!
Obedient: she did what she was told that was in her best interest no matter how unfamiliar or uncomfortable it was! I find it interesting that this is the last of the attributes listed because it all really boils down to obedience! If we’re led by the spirit and OBEDIENT we will be doing the above things!
Now here we are at the end of the story and her future is out of her control. It’s in the hands of others. She did the best that she could and guess what? Her obedience, action and attitude earned her a place in the lineage of Jesus Christ! And blessed the lives of those around her. Her mother in law was blessed because of her actions, Boaz was blessed and from what I’ve learned from her I’m sure that everyone who’s life she touched was blessed as well!
I hope this blesses you like it did me! Below is the video lesson of this, feel free to share it with others or take the notes and teach it to someone yourself!