Show Up!

Show Up!
Ruth 4: 5-15 

Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the[c] dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”

At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.”

(Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.)

So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal.

Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnessesthat I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!”

11 Then the elders and all the people at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12 Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”
13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

In brief, the story of Ruth is a wonderful example of God’s ability to provide redemption, renewal, and restoration. A widowed Israelite woman and a Moabite woman partner together in a way that leads to both of their lives being redeemed, renewed, and restored. Indeed the favor and presence of God is seen throughout the story. Yet one cannot overlook the simple but effective behavior of the book’s protagonist, Ruth.  In my opinion, Ruth was able to be wonderfully blessed simply because she was committed to showing up.

In the beginning, Ruth’s bio is very bland. There is no mention of any special skill set or talent. There is no mention of any Moabite familial standing or power. There is no mention of her having any resources or supplies of her own. All Ruth had was herself and from the beginning that is exactly what she gives: herself. Ruth demonstrated tremendous commitment and faith by daily showing up despite no guarantee of safety or success. Yes, Naomi helped her but that wasn’t guaranteed. Yes, Boaz hired her but that wasn’t guaranteed. In fact, one should take note that Boaz had to tell his men not to bother Ruth. Apparently harassing the crop gleaners was known and accepted. Yet still, Ruth showed up daily to gather spare crops. Yes, Boaz fell in love with her but that wasn’t guaranteed. Yes, Boaz married her but that wasn’t guaranteed. He could have made her a concubine. Yes, the Israelites accepted her and offered prayers of blessing for her marriage but that wasn’t guaranteed either.  Ruth overcame tremendous odds mainly because she daily showed up.

Unfortunately, situations in life can be cruel, unfair, disappointing, and/or overwhelming. Nevertheless, we cannot underestimate the power of showing up. Victory rarely happens at home or in our beds. Regardless of the challenges, we still need to get dressed, make the journey, and show up on time.

Now more than ever, showing up matters. Showing up on time for class matters. Showing up for work matters. Showing up to vote matters. Showing up for Bible study and worship matters. Showing up for town hall or PTA meetings matter. Showing up for practice (any kind of practice) matters.

Recently for me, showing up meant still being present in places where I had been humiliated. It has meant conversing with political extremists. It has meant traveling hundreds of miles. It has meant working on ministry ideas alone.

Showing up is rarely fun, glamorous, convenient, or easy. Nevertheless, our showing up allows God to show out! Sometime this week and every week make it a point to show up!

Cecil Lettsome

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