"Ruth the Moabitess said, ‘Well, listen to this: He (Boaz) also told me, Stick with my workers until my harvesting is finished.'"
Ruth 2: 21, The Message
"How to Live Your Life" by Two Women Who Knew What They Were Talking About!
5 Characteristics of Ruth - The Determined Daughter- Part IV
"Determination:" Resolute. Steady. Marked by faithfulness. To make a firm decision.
"If enough people think of a thing and work hard enough at it, I guess it's nearly bound to happen."
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House on the Prairie
How would I define the word "determination?"
What, in my life, am I determined to accomplish for my Father?
"I am the initial Fish, rejected on the beach but determined to live."
"I might have been born in a hovel but I determined to travel with the wind and the stars."
I'd like to paraphrase the quote above had it been spoken by God's daughter, Ruth: "I might have been born in Moab, but I determined to travel with the God of heaven and earth, no matter where His pathway took me."
As I thought about this statement, I asked myself, "Would I have had the determination to agree with this statement?" How about you?
Over the last few days, we've looked at three characteristics possessed by God's daughter, Ruth. She was a devoted young woman, not only to Naomi, but to the God of heaven and earth. A God she met when she married Naomi's son, Mahlon. Ruth was also a daring daughter. She did not let fear control her life. She did not allow hesitancy to do what God asked of her and hold her back from an unimaginable future. Another trait we find in Ruth's life that was she was diligent. Whether Ruth was gleaning in a field, or married to one of the "pillars" of Bethlehem society, she lived purposefully - recognizing all she did in her life was "unto God."
Today we will consider the fourth characteristic we find in Ruth's life and it is "determination." Our text offers a glimpse into the fact that Boaz obviously perceived in Ruth this particular trait for he instructed her to come to his field to work, "until the harvest was finished." Determined people don't show-up on the job one day and take a hike the next. They don't see if the conditions are to their liking and then when everything doesn't meet their demands they take-off in a huff.
Determined daughters and sons of God arrive in His field to work and they stay until the "harvest is finished." Don't you just love that idea?! The great protestant reformer, Martin Luther, believed in the characteristic of determination when he wrote: "Resolved: that every (person) should live to the glory of God. Resolved second: that whether others do this or not, I will." I really like this statement for it sheds light on another element which is present in the definition of the word, "determined." This is a legal perspective which emphasizes that a "decision has been determined." This is why someone who is determined is thought to be resolute. Once you and I make a decision, as in the case of Ruth, to be diligent in the field, she was faithful in performing her duties until the harvest was finished. What's more, as Martin Luther stated, the determined person's decision isn't based on taking a poll or finding out which way the wind is blowing. Determination is about doing the right thing now and always - not just when it happens to be convenient or popular.
And how is it that you and I, like Ruth, are able to live our lives with determination to do what God has asked of us? Author Rowan Williams suggests, "We are able to give ourselves in glad response to God in person after person, in situation after situation, because we know God has promised to be there for us and that God's great self-consistency underlies all these. With that revelation, in that confidence (and I'll add, with that determination) we know Who to obey."
I love these words penned by an unknown author entitled, "Reminder."
Thank You for giving me back
For proving Your love and faithfulness
in spite of so much that was
Let it never be said
That You are not there.
Rather remind us that
You are always ready
to help us
beyond our wildest expectations
if only we are determined
to turn to You
in our need,
whether it be great or small."
With the constant knowledge that my Father is faithful to me unto the "end of time," like Ruth, my desire is to be one of God's determined daughters who is faithful to Him until the "harvest is finished."
"No Turning Back"
because of my free choice
and for the sake of Your love alone,
I want to remain
and do what Your will
demands of me.
No. I will not turn back."
"Lord, here I am. There is not friction between my will and Yours. Whatever You have for me, I know that You will give me enough strength, enough grace. I know You will give me all that I need, so Lord, here I am, ready to do Your will."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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