Semper fidelis is a Latin phrase that means “always faithful” or “always loyal”. (Wikipedia)
Last week I finished the book of Joshua and only had two days remaining in the week. So, I decided to read Ruth.
What a lovely story. Ruth could have been a Marine. The Marines have a saying, Semper Fi, which means “always faithful”. Ruth, even though it wasn’t customary in that day, was always faithful. And to her mother-in-law, no less.
Here is a summary of Ruth and why I think its such a lovely story. Ruth marries this guy, and I can’t remember his name, but its not important. Well, they never have any children, and he dies. As was the custom of the day, Ruth should’ve been married off to one of his brothers, except that his only brother also dies! So, she goes to live with her father-in- law. But, then her father in law dies, as well. I know, tragic, huh?!?! Which leaves Ruth with her mother-in-law, and no man to care for them. Well, as the Lord would have it, it was customary under these circumstances at this time in history for Ruth to return her father’s house. This is where the story gets really good.
Instead of doing what was expected, what was customary, Ruth decides to stay with her Mother-in-Law. I know, you’re probably thinking, “what?!?” This woman is just cursed with bad luck. Ruth needs to run from her. I mean her husband and both of her sons die, leaving her alone. She even changes her name to Mara, which means the Almighty has afflicted me. Does it get any worse than that? So Ruth commits to staying with this lady and they return to Jerusalem at the start of barley harvest to work in the fields.
Word had spread throughout the region (yes, people gossiped back then) that this Ruth lady didn’t follow the custom and decided to stay with her mother in law and they were in Jerusalem to harvest. So, Boaz, who was like this rich farmer guy, put her to work in his fields. He didn’t know who she was at first, only that she was there to help harvest. So anyway, her reputation had proceeded her, and when he found out “who” she was, he already knew that she was a good girl.
When Mara finds out who Ruth is working for she begins telling her to go to him and “see if he can help you to find a husband”. So Ruth does just that. She tells Boaz who she is, what she has done, and what she wants. Boaz, after a few other customary procedures, falls in love with her takes Ruth for his wife. They eventually have this little kiddo named Obed. And they live happily ever after. But the story doesn’t end there. Obed begets Jesse, and Jesse begets David. Yep, that David, the little boy who kills a giant with some pebbles, then becomes the infamous King David. From whose line we are promised a Savior.
So what’s the point? Lets start with doing what is right in your heart, even when it’s not what is expected of you. Ruth could’ve left her momma in law and returned to her fathers house where she would have been taken care of for the rest of her life, either by her dad, or a new husband. But instead, she stayed with her aging mother in law. Who knows what kind of relationship they had. Some people love their mother in laws, while others don’t. Regardless of what she thought of her, she stayed. She was faithful. She was loyal. She was a MARINE!! And because of this faithfulness, we see how Boaz and Ruth’s son, grandson and so on give us the promised Savior. I just never know how your actions today will effect future generations.
But another sticking point, and the one that stayed with me after reading this, was that her reputation for being faithful and loyal spread throughout the region. There weren’t any phones, emails or text back then. Your word was your word, and hand shake was all that was needed, and your reputation always proceeded you. Even in this day of millisecond communication, your reputation goes before you. ESPECIALLY when you go against customs. So what do people say about you?
I had the pleasure of meeting with an individual this morning about a personal matter. She mentioned to me that she loved to work with a certain individual because she is “straight as an arrow”, and shared that its a pleasure to work with someone so professional and on the up and up. Once again, its her reputation.
I find it rather fascinating that when we do something that isn’t expected, something that is right and not what others expect, that those people will remember that. They will talk about it. They will remember it for a long time to come. So, what are people saying about you? I ask myself this question all the time. I want to know that I’m doing what is right in the eyes of God, no matter what is expected or not expected, or what is the custom or procedure of the day or hour. I just want to do what is right. I don’t always get it right, but I sure do try. I want others to say that I’m a pleasure to work with. I’m a pleasure to be around. I’m a dependable person. I want to be like Ruth.