Letting go. I struggle with the concept almost daily.
Practicing faithfulness is always easier when it requires little discipline or sacrifice. When God calls me to use my innate gifts to glorify Him, I am in. Host a dinner to enjoy fellowship with neighbors? Lead a Bible study? Volunteer in my community? My knee-jerk, inherent response is always, "Yep, absolutely! Where do I sign up?" I'm great at modeling devotion to God's calling when my primal instinct kicks in for an intuitive "faith layup."
But things get more challenging when there is a perceived cost to my faithfulness. Stretch beyond my comfort zone? Ignore my fears? Surrender control? Sometimes, in those moments, if I don't listen with intention, it's easy for my loyalty language to morph from, “Here am I. Send me,” to, "Not just yet. Maybe tomorrow. Do I have to?"
At first glance, the book of Ruth may seem like Scripture that focuses almost entirely on a younger woman's steadfast loyalty to her mother-in-law. And on many levels, that's true. Ruth demonstrates continuous and unwavering devotion to Naomi, a choice that results in both burdens and blessings for these women. However, as we dig a bit deeper, we realize the book isn't just about faithfulness. Ruth teaches us that true loyalty sometimes means coming to terms with letting go.
Ruth's allegiance to Naomi falls into another category entirely. To follow her mother-in-law faithfully, Ruth had to let go. Ruth’s pledge isn't an empty future promise; it's an oath pledged and executed in that very moment. It's her resolute commitment to let go of her country, her people, her customs, and her gods. Ruth's spiritual act of release, of staying true to her calling regardless of its price, and of greeting her new destiny with an open heart and hands enables both women to share in God's grace and goodness.
We often must let go of things to heed God's plan. We must pray to hear God's calling with discernment and to have the strength to follow His purpose, even when faced with discomfort, uncertainty, and adversity.
Be willing to sacrifice everything in the name of faithfulness and loyalty to God's will.
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Cortney S. Farmer is a freelance writer, business owner, and Bible study leader. In 2009, Cortney gave her life to Christ, a life plot twist she is grateful for every day, but never saw coming. Since then, she has ministered to friends and neighbors, both in church and at the Dover, NH, home she shares with her beloved husband and two young sons.