On a recent journey through the Old Testament I got to take a fresh look at Ruth.
It’s a story quite poignant around Mothers Day, as Ruth was extraordinarily selfless in the way she chose to follow and care for her mother in law after the death of both their husbands. Ruth moves from her homeland with Naomi, and both women know it’ll be up to Ruth to provide for the two of them, and that wont be easy without inheritance or a working husband.
I love Ruth’s posture and attitude right throughout the book. She chooses the harder path again and again, first choosing to be a foreigner in a new location, then each day she works hard to secure grain, by following behind the harvesters and gathering up what they leave behind.
This attitude, one of Sacrifice, Simplicity and Service, is the epitome of what it is to be a mother. At that time Ruth was not a mum, but those days and months were great preparation for when she would marry again, and become the mother of Obed – King David’s grandfather.
Ruth can teach us a lot with her attitude, faithfulness and choices.
Motherhood, and indeed womanhood, is a lot about sacrifice. So often we chide ourselves for putting ourselves last – and I understand that. Self care is an important thing. But there’s also the reality that we’re wired to place others needs before our own, especially our children, and that’s a virtue and something to be embraced and honoured. Without it, we would have even less families caring for kids in the foster care system. Without it families would be more fragmented and less cohesive. Without it there’d be a lot more ‘no’s’ and a lot less ‘yesses’. I wouldn’t be close to where I am today if it weren’t for the sacrifice of many women in my life – the top of the list being Mum. It doesn’t mean mums always get things right, but just that it’s okay to acknowledge the pull toward self-sacrifice, and to understand it’s an innate part of us, and a God-given gift to our families and communities.
Motherhood is best when it embraces the simple things. An understanding that prayer is more important than expensive gifts, and that a chat in the car can yield deeper results than a luxury getaway.
Ruth was content to pick up grain stalks and make bread for herself and Naomi to survive. She wasn’t expecting anything grand for her life… she was content with simple things. And what happened unexpectedly was that her attitude toward simplicity ended up opening the door to a life far more blessed than she could’ve possibly imagined.
Remember that as a mum, embracing the simple things is not evidence of your failings, but can often be the very source of your strength.
Serving is the greatest thing we can offer the world. Jesus placed it as paramount in his teaching and ministry. He taught that the greatest leader and greatest influencers should be the greatest servants of others.
Motherhood feels very much like being a servant a great amount of the time. It’s taxing and often thankless, but by serving we’re teaching the next generation that servant-leadership is the godly way.
The next time you’re gritting your teeth because you feel like you’re breaking your back for the kids or family, and are not appreciated enough… remind yourself you’ve been given the highest calling – that being to serve. You have growing minds and bodies who will be influenced toward adulthood by your very actions and words. What an amazing responsibility. And it makes a difference!
Ruth shows us the benefit and beauty of 3 godly virtues: Sacrifice, Simplicity and Service. She may have felt pitiful at the time, but these virtues have become a picture of beauty and goodness in the book dedicated to her story.
Perhaps it’s a timely reminder to us mothers today to embrace the difficult, for the sake of influencing the minds of the future. Let that be our testimony of beauty in the years to come as well.
Happy Mothers Day.