What Are You Committed To?
But Ruth replied, "Don't ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.
I love the story of Ruth. I love her tenacity and devotion to Naomi, her mother-in-law, and what stands out most is where Ruth's places her commitment. She doesn't commit to an outcome, or even an ideal. If she had she might have thought about the rejection she may face as a non-Jew in Israel. She might have worried about how she'd support herself, where she'd live, or even how to get another husband (when surely a man of "God's chosen people" would be unlikely to choose her, a foreigner.)
If you'd have asked Ruth's friends, they may have stood in shock at her commitment to Naomi, even called her a fool! They may have told her that she was headed toward ruin, that she should stay and try to find another man since she was still of child bearing age. Those who once had loved her would have turned their back on her for choosing Naomi, and for forsaking her own heritage.
But Ruth's models for us something that we've forgotten about relationships. True love and intimacy requires commitment, not to an outcome or an ideal, but to the person themselves.
If we're committed to an outcome or ideal we'll end up pushing our own agenda on someone, and when they don't do what "we think" they should, our commitment ends. At best this is false intimacy, and at worst it can lead to control and abuse. If we place our commitment to an outcome, people will always disappoint us, and more importantly we will disappoint them.
But if our commitment is to the person, and we shelve our own agenda or expectations of outcomes, we find the ability to love like Jesus did.
1 Corinthians 13: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Placing our commitment to the person means that we are entering into covenant, and covenant love grows people. Over and over again in scripture we are given examples of covenant commitment; Johnathan and David, Ruth and Naomi, Hosea and Gomer, God and the nation of Israel, commitments always to a person or people, not to outcomes or ideals. And while covenant commitment is not devoid of boundaries where there's need of them, those boundaries are always directed by where we've placed our commitment--to the person.
Our ability to love like Jesus will always be dependent on where we place our commitment, first to Him, and then to others. And the story of Ruth and Naomi teaches us an important lesson--that placing our commitment to the person always comes with blessings. Ruth sacrifices safety, certainty, and security to follow Naomi, and she is rewarded all of it back.
So where are you placing your commitment? Look at your relationships and ask yourself. Is it to a shared goal? An expectation? An outcome? An ideal? Or to the person?
John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
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