There’s something about change that some (if not most) people are hesitant about-I would be included in this. Some of us might dread cooler weather in the summer because it means fall is approaching, which can also mean school is coming. Others might dread even colder weather that signals winter since we all know early winter means the big holiday season, which is supposed to be one of the best times of the year. Christ is born! However, it winds up being so stressful you will be glad when the 26th comes. No matter yours or my opinion on change, it is inevitable. The question is are you ready for it?
We left off with our devoted Ruth making it clear that she was going to Bethlehem, Judah with her mother-in-law Naomi. Well, now that brings us to the close of chapter 1, and I do find it very poignant. It says, “So Naomi returned from Moab, accompanied by her daughter-in-law Ruth, the young Moabite woman. They arrived in Bethlehem in late spring, at the beginning of the barley harvest” (1:22). I think this verse is not just about locational change for Ruth and Naomi, but spiritual change—particularly, in Ruth. In our lives, we get obvious clues of change; graduation from high school typically means you are going on to college, vocational school or getting a job. Then there are subtle shifts in life that aren’t as easy to notice.
I’ll give a personal example. I go to a church that focuses on God’s heart for the lost and with that comes opportunities to serve in the community. Years ago, I had no interest in ever doing something like that. I just did not believe that I had that type of personality. Well, during college, I had a similar response when I found out I had to take Public Speaking. I avoided it until the last semester of my second year. Of course, it was nerve wracking THINKING about it, but once I was up there (yes, my hands and voice shook) it was a blur and by the time I had to do a seven to eight minute speech by the end, my nerves had settled down quite a bit. It was amazing to have conquered that.
Little did I know that, over the course of the next two years of college, I would have to do speeches and discuss things in front of people! That subtle but crucial moment propelled/aided in my reaction to speeches later. In hindsight, I see it but in that spring semester not so much. I even considered taking Public Speaking online, but had I chosen that route, I would have never overcame it.
That brings me back to church. There was something else that I avoided called small groups. I had tried them a few times in the past but it never stuck so last year, despite my reservations, I chose to give it another chance. I chose one I believed God led me to join and sure enough a year later, I am still part of the same group. Oh and remember that community involvement I mentioned earlier? I wound up being involved in it last year too. When I did, it was better than I ever thought, but I don’t think it could have had I not taken the step to join a small group FIRST.
So how does this connect to verse 22? I find it very intriguing that the sole mention of season was right as they arrived in Judah. I would venture to say that Naomi and Ruth’s leap of faith made the season in their lives change and notice it also mentions a harvest. I believe when we step out in faith for God, to grow in our relationship with him, we’ll begin to notice how God is changing us on the inside. And what is harvested from that will be far greater than anything we could have dreamed of ourselves.
All Bible Verses are from The Holy Bible: New Living Translation