Tag Archives: Duty

To The Care-Giver

16 Jan

This is an article I wrote several years ago. I was taking care of my Mother – my favorite person in the world. She had Alzheimer’s and I was doing all I could to keep her at home with me. I loved her with a love I can’t explain. I wanted so much to take care of her until her time came to leave this earth. Being a care-giver is the hardest thing I’ve had to endure in my lifetime.

My Mother was used by God on this earth to bless so many people – she was, and still is, my hero. She was the perfect example of what a disciple of Jesus should be. The love of God was with her every moment and drew everyone to her side. Taking care of her was the biggest gift God has given me.

As hard as the task was, God was with me every step of the way. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t hesitate. I cherished the time we had together. The biggest blessing of all was that my Mother remembered me on the day she died. What a gift from God!

If you are a care-giver – please know that God knew you would be the one He could trust with the care of the one He loves so much. He sees all you have to endure – Lean heavily on Him. Don’t fret over any guilt about how you feel. Take good care of yourself and don’t let the enemy make accusations that take away your joy. This, too, shall pass, and, when it does, you have fulfilled the Scripture as follows:

John 15:13

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

NIV

 

 If all that a man has he will give for his life, he that gives this for his friend gives all, and can give no more; this may sometimes be our duty, 1 John 3:16.

(from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

 

I like what Matthew Henry’s Commentary has to say about these words that Jesus spoke in the book of John. Somehow it gives me great satisfaction to know that as I give my life to take care of my loved one, I give all that I am and can give no more. My own interpretation of this would be that God sees the sacrifices that I am making for my loved one and He knows I am doing my best. It also makes me feel better to know that it is okay if I am doing this as a duty and not because I think I am qualified or even good at it! This takes some of the pressure and guilt from me, since I don’t always perform my care-giving with the right attitude.

Some of the pressure I place on myself comes from my own idea that I should like what I am doing – but I don’t.  Most of the time, I feel angry that I have no choice.  Because this is one of those things I do as a duty and not necessarily because I want to, it doesn’t take away from what Jesus said in this Scripture from the Book of John. Duty is a good thing – it comes from internal integrity.

I am grateful that God’s Word ( John 15) it  doesn’t say I have to feel a certain way in order to demonstrate my love. It is the act of providing daily care for my loved one that God wants from me. I’m not saying that my attitude shouldn’t be right. I know it should. But, at least God knows my heart and He knows what a struggle this is. I have to seek God continually to help me correct my attitude as I am doing things I would rather not be doing.  This brings a greater peace to my heart and helps me feel less stressful.

As I write about my care-giving experience, I notice how many times I use the word “feel”. Truthfully, I’ve never been so aware of my feelings – possibly because I’ve never walked through such agonizing pain, or experienced such intense emotions.

As care-givers, we find ourselves so entangled with our loved one that we can’t deny the heaviness of it.  Therefore, we are forced to deal with our feelings and emotions. And there are soooo many!

President Reagan’s wife, Nancy,  put it this way,  “. . . it is like saying a long goodbye”.

The good news is that we will meet again in Heaven one day.

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Boaz, The Son of a Harlot, Ruth, a Pagan – Brought Together by God and Became Part of the Lineage of Jesus Christ!

1 Jun

Continued . . .

How great is our God! He took ordinary people – sinners – saved them and turned their lives around and made them part of the lineage of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and King!

So, we find Ruth under the blanket, at the feet of a strange man. She did not sleep, she waited. It must have seemed a long time to Ruth. Finally, Boaz was startled and woke up! He asked who was there. Ruth replied, giving her name, and announcing she was his servant girl. She requested that he spread his cover over her. She told him she was a relative and reminded him that he was supposed to take care of her. The more we learn about Ruth, the braver she seems to get! Obedience certainly takes courage.

“Boaz was an older man, possibly a leader in the city. Naomi was certain that he would do the right thing and redeem her as was the custom of the day. If there was anything improper about this action, the fault must lie upon Naomi. . who knew or should know, the laws of Israel better than Ruth. It is true that Boaz, being near of kin to Naomi’s oldest son, and then nearest of all now alive, was obliged by the divine law to marry the widow of Mahlon, who was the eldest son of Elimelech, and was dead. Her coming to lie down at his feet, when he was asleep had such an appearance of evil. . . It is dangerous to bring the spark and tinder together; she (Naomi) knew Boaz to be not only an old man, but a grave sober man, a virtuous and religious man, and one that feared God.” (Bible Commentary)

Just imagine what God can do with one so dedicated and obedient. Here we are today, a couple of thousand years later, reading about a young woman born into a pagan land, submitting herself to one of God’s own and reaping such a mighty reward, here on this earth, in her lifetime – -God’s grace – His mercy – His blessing! Amazing!

Boaz blessed her! Wow! He realized Ruth was once again being obedient to Naomi by being there. He told Ruth he thought this was the greatest kindness that she had shown Naomi even from the beginning. Boaz was so intuitive. He told Ruth of his respect for her because she had not sought after a husband to marry, either rich or poor. Even more amazing, Boaz told Ruth he would do all she asked. He went so far as to tell her that all the people in their town knew she was a good woman. Then he then told Ruth that there was another kinsmen who was a closer relative than he. This meant there was a problem. Well, isn’t that the way life is?

This was an open door for doubt and unbelief to come in. We all face this in our daily lives. Many give up at this point and begin to murmur and complain. But, we can look back at how the path God had prepared for Ruth and know that He is still in control. His plan is still in operation. This is just a slight detour.

Boaz told Ruth not to be afraid. He told her of his plan to go to the other relative to see if he would take care of Ruth and if he refused, Boaz would do it. He then told her to stay there until morning. Ruth slept at his feet, not at his side, and got up just before daylight while it was still too dark for anyone to recognize her. “But as soon as the day broke, that she had light to go home by, she got away, before one could know another, that, if she were saying, yet she might not be known to be abroad soul unseasonably. She was not shy of being known to be a gleaner in the field, nor ashamed of that mark at her poverty. But she would not willingly be known to be a night walker, for her virtue was her greatest honor, and that what she most valued”. (Bible Commentary)

Ruth returned to her mother-in-law and told her what happened. Naomi advised Ruth to “wait”. She said that Boaz would not rest until he took care of the matter. And, as Naomi predicted, Boaz went to the city gate and waited there until the other close relative passed by. Boaz invited him to come and talk. He also gathered ten of the older leaders of the city as witnesses and told them about Naomi’s return to Bethlehem from Moab. He told the men that Naomi wanted to sell the piece of land that belonged to their relative, Elimelech. He offered the nearest relative the opportunity to buy the land and asked for an answer. The other relative said he would buy back the land. Goodness, another bump in the road of God’s plan. To be expected – right?

Boaz continued to explain that if he (the nearest relative) purchased the land from Naomi he must marry Ruth, the Moabite. That meant the land would stay in the name of Naomi’s son, which was customary in that day.

This changed everything! The close relative said he could not buy the land because it might interfere with what he could pass on to his own sons. So he told Boaz to buy it himself. Finally!

We all face bumps in the road as we wait upon God. Many times we give up – or take matters into our own hands. We live in a world where most things we want are instant, so waiting on God is not easy for any of us. But, the Scripture tells us that “Good things come to those who wait”.

So, Boaz declared to the older leaders that they were witnesses as to his purchasing from Naomi everything that belonged to Elimelech and his two sons. He also announced that he was taking Ruth, the Moabite, as his wife so that her property would stay in his name and not be separated from his family. The older leaders testified to their witness of Boaz’s claim and blessed Boaz and Ruth.

So Boaz took Ruth as his wife. They had a son and Naomi was praised by the people of her town. They all gave credit to the faithfulness of Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law, who loved her. The child’s name was given to him by the people of the town. They call him Obed. Obed became the father of Jesse and Jesse was the father of David from whom our Lord Jesus descended.

To make this story even more amazing, Boaz was the son of Rahab. Just think about it. Rahab was a harlot. God saved her and blessed her and she became a part of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. And Boaz, born to Rahab, a fine man of God married a Moabite woman, called “strange” in that day due to her heritage. Yet, God saved her and brought her together with Boaz. Together they brought forth a son and became a part of the lineage of Jesus Christ. “Ruth is hereby brought in among the ancestors of David and Christ, which was the greatest honor. The genealogy is here drawn from Pharez, through Boaz and Obed, to David, and so leads towards the Messiah, and therefore it is not an endless genealogy”. (Bible Commentary)

Only God – – -only God – – -could bring about such an amazing, miraculous plan. As we were promised in the beginning of this story, “all things worked together to those who loved God. . .”

This is not the end of Ruth’s story – it’s a new beginning!

God Knows Where You Are Going . . . Even If You Don’t!

29 May

We continue with the story of Ruth and Naomi.

What a testimony of Ruth’s dedication and selflessness. How difficult it must have been for her. She was already grieving the loss of her husband. She knew she would never see her country or her family again. It’s hard to even imagine. God is working behind the scene – He has a plan. The outcome was not known to Ruth or to us in our lives, but it is known by God–planned by Him! Wow!

At this point we really begin to see who Ruth is – who God made her to be. She probably didn’t even know herself until she was tested and tried. That’s God for you!

A major part of what Ruth was dedicating herself to was the care of her mother-in-law. That in itself was a really big challenge. These women had nothing. At one time in her life, Naomi was well known, her husband owned land but He mortgaged it all to move his family to Moab. Naomi and Ruth were returning to Bethlehem with no idea of where they would live or how they would provide for themselves. It must have also been difficult for Naomi, knowing she would have to face all her friends and family. She was now ashamed of her life so much so that she wanted to change her name.

Ruth was up to the challenge. Her heart and soul were now rich with integrity and morality. She was full of compassion. She had a sense of duty and responsibility beyond measure. Ruth did not let the pain in her heart cheat her. She refused to give a prominent place to it. Ruth did not bask in her grievous situation. She did not give in to the things in her life that could have claimed her and doomed her to a life of condemnation. Neither did Ruth feel that she had been treated unfairly or concern herself just with her own needs. She placed the needs of Naomi above her own. Ruth tamed her own emotions and stepped up to the challenge that providence had awarded her.

There is nothing written to even suggest that Ruth felt sorry for herself or asked anything for herself. Her focus was on the protection and care of Naomi, her husband’s mother. How proud he would have been of his wife, knowing his mother was completely alone, in a foreign country and had no one else to care for her.

Ruth’s future at this stage of her life was completely unknown an unpredictable. She did not allow her losses to ruin her life or set her back. Little did she know what a great future God had planned for her!

When Ruth and Naomi arrived in Bethlehem it was just in time for barley harvest. Naomi was well known there. Her return stirred everyone. They could not believe the change that had occurred in her life. They also saw how dedicated Ruth was to Naomi and how yielded Ruth was in her submissiveness to Naomi, putting her well being above all else. Ruth humbled herself. She was willing to work as a servant to provide for Naomi. She did not think herself too good to work hard.

The entire city knew Ruth was a virtuous woman. Constant! That is the word used to describe Ruth. A powerful word! A powerful personality trait! Not wavering – not confused – unwavering, unwilling to give in to her grief, the pain the hardship and the responsibilities that had beset her. In a word, Ruth refused to give in to the many hardships that were trying to rob her of all the good that she had become accustomed to.

To Be Continued . . . .

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