Ruth 1:16-17 are words of commitment spoken by Ruth. But, here’s the thing, I don’t really get Ruth. She is a young woman who has the possibility of a new future ahead of her back at home. Her husband died, but they had only been married for less than ten years. She was still in the prime of her life. She could have gone back home, hit the reset button, found a new man, and started a new life.
In fact, that is exactly what Naomi, her mother-in-law, told her to do. “Why follow me?” Naomi said, “I have nothing. I am old, I have no husband, no money, no power…nothing. Leave me and save yourself.”
Ruth would not have it. She responds with these famous words.
Where you go, I will go;
where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people,
and your God my God.
Where you die, I will die—
there will I be buried.
May the Lord do thus and so to me,
and more as well,
if even death parts me from you!”
We often hear these words spoken at a wedding. These are words of commitment, devotion, faithfulness, and self-sacrifice. They are beautiful and powerful words. They make sense when a young, wide-eyed, eager couple makes vows to each other with the hope of a bright future of making children and building a family and a future together.
That’s why I don’t get Ruth. She spoke these words to a woman who could give her nothing. Ruth, a Moabite woman, who had never been to Bethlehem before, looked this old woman in the eyes and said, “I’m all in.”
That is commitment.
What are you committed to today? Are your commitments attached to something that promises a return on your investment? So many times we give because we know we’ll get back. Where’s the focus there?
We’ll discover in the story of Ruth that true faithfulness–the true way of God–is a commitment to the other person that is made when it is truly for the other person and not for ourself.
That’s the kind of commitment God has made to us. When Jesus died on the cross, that was God saying to us, “I’m all in.”
May we live that way today.