The book of Ruth is often the topic of sermons and women’s Bible Studies. Most often, the focus is on the concept of the kinsman redeemer role of Boaz, which is a foreshadowing of what Christ did for us. Sometimes, it is showing how a pagan like Ruth chooses faith in the God of the Bible and becomes the Great-great-great Grandmother of King David and eventually Jesus. In women’s ministry, the story of Naomi and Ruth is often used to illustrate the Titus 2 instruction for the older women to mentor the younger women in a local church. I’ve used the book of Ruth to illustrate God’s goodness. We see that God is good all the time: even in the tough times; in different ways to each of us, and in what He allows or doesn’t allow into our lives. We see all those illustrated in the story of Ruth. But, one of the best lessons from the story of Naomi and Ruth is that life should not be lived alone.
The book of Ruth illustrates that life should not be lived alone.
Life seems much harder when we are alone. Fear multiplies when we are alone. When we are facing any situation that is tough or is frightening, God doesn’t intend for us to face it alone.
That’s one of the reasons why the Holy Spirit places you in the Body of Christ from the very moment you say yes to Jesus. You are to be connected to other believers. You have sisters in the Body of Christ. There are women who can be your friends in the Body of Christ. It is essential that you connect yourself to other believers.
In Ruth 1, you see that a grieving Naomi started to pull away from the people she knew the best. She was isolating herself. That only magnified her grief. Praise God that he had placed Ruth there, and Ruth wasn’t going to let Naomi be by herself.
Through the years, I have seen women isolate themselves from others when they’re experiencing trouble. Sometimes grief. Sometimes when going through marital strife. Sometimes after a move to a different location where they don’t know anyone.
Or, women give up on the church community and don’t feel like they need to be part of a local church. The bad behavior of Christian leaders that hits the news may be their excuse. I had a cousin who felt that way. Or, they may have been wounded by a church member and walk away so as not to be wounded again. Has that happened to you?
If that is your experience, please do not try to do life alone.
We are stronger together in community.
Think about what happens when you burn wood in a fireplace or fire pit. You can easily see that logs burn more brightly when they’re placed together. But separate one log from the rest, and pretty soon it will grow cold. The same is true about us. Christians need each other for warmth and encouragement. Romans 1:12 says that we get mutual encouragement from one another as we are together. Everyone needs that.
And, a local church community with good biblical teaching can keep you safe from false teaching. Pastors and teachers who love Jesus will help you grow in your Christian life as they feed you the spiritual food of the Bible and help you to know God better.
Being part of a church family also helps you learn how to love others and their differences. Jesus knows the difficulty we all have at times with one another. He gets it. Our relationship with Him does not prevent us from having misunderstandings or differences of opinion. Sometimes these relational challenges tempt us to harbor grudges against someone with whom we differ. Or, they tempt us to isolate ourselves from the whole community. Neither of these is healthy for you. Isolation will lead to stunted spiritual growth and a lack of joy in your life.
Galatians 6:2 says that we are to bear one another’s burdens. We do that by being together, Naomi and Ruth were able to bear each another’s burdens. Ruth worked for food. Naomi gave wise counsel about where and how to do that. They were doing life together.
Can you imagine the continued heartache Naomi would have experienced if she took that long journey back to Bethlehem alone? Her fear level was already high. It would have probably soared to almost suffocating. That’s what isolation does.
Are you trying to do life alone? Find community.
So, are you trying to do life alone? Admit your God-given need for community. Take action. Find a local church that presents Jesus Christ as the Son of God and faith in Him alone as the only way to be saved and have a relationship with God. Find a church that honors the Bible as God’s Word, completely true, and the guidebook for life and decision-making. Find a church that encourages you to personally follow Jesus as His disciple and grow stronger in your faith. Then, join a small group within that community and get connected. Share your life with others. Let them encourage you and bear your burdens while you do the same for them. Praise God together as you see him work in your lives.
Are you well-connected? Pay attention and come alongside the lonely one.
But, many of you reading this are already well-connected. Yay! Praise God for that joy. So, here’s what I ask you to do: Pay attention and come alongside someone who may be isolated and lonely, trying to face life on her own.
Pay attention just means to listen to how she describes herself or her life. Make mental note to find out more about her. Then, come alongside her. Invite her to join you for something during the next week—early before work, during the day, after supper—doesn’t matter. Just find a time that works and do it. Share a little of your stories when you get together. Find out where she is in her walk of faith. Connect her with others who might have similar interests or needs. Bring the community together around her. Confirm to her that when any of us are facing a situation that is tough or is frightening, God doesn’t intend for us to face it alone.
Everyday Women Bible Study of Old Testament Women (read online)
Everyday Women Bible Study of Old Testament Women (download pdf)