Monday, November 13, 2006

Let's Hear It For Naomi

I'm reading an awesome book right now on, among other things, friendship. And of course, what would such a book be without a tribute to the story of Ruth of the Bible days. But as I read and reflected on that story, it occurred to me that perhaps Naomi deserves some acclaim also. Just a bit.

Her husband and sons dead, she has nothing left to live for in that strange land of Moab. And so she sets out with her daughters-in-law to return to the land of her people. She heads for home . . . and family. But before doing so, she releases Orpah and Ruth from any obligation to her. Wow. Those are really the only ties she has to her sons. But she realizes for them to follow her would mean leaving all they know behind. And so she bestows upon them the blessing of the Lord and gives them the gift of release.

This is a gift that's well within our power to give, but so often we hold back. Whether because of fear or insecurity or for whatever reason, we sometimes hesitate to just let things go. Let go of bitterness. Of obligations. Of expectations.

The beauty of this gift is that when we give it, we're free to focus on the gifts God has given us. When I cease to expect things from others, I can turn to God in whom my expectations are never disappointed. When I release others from a sense of obligation, I am reminded that Christ already obligated himself for me on the cross.

But the story of Naomi doesn't end there. Willing as she was to make the long journey back to Judea alone, she was blessed by Ruth's unselfish gift of friendship. Two women. One willing to give up her rightful expectations of the other. One willing to sacrifice all she knew. Both exhibiting important facets of friendship. Both blessed beyond measure.

With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah. Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back, each of you, to your mother's home. May the Lord show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband." Then she kissed them and they wept aloud (Ruth 2:7-10)

5 comments:

Susanne said...

Dianne what an excellent post! If we would just get a hold of letting things go. (No pun intended). :v) God has so much more for us.

Dionna Sanchez said...

Dianne -
Would you be interested in writing devotionals for women? Email me at emphasisonmoms@gmail.com

I love your view on Naomi, by the way. :)

gail said...

Good post Dianne. Well written...and that's so true, just letting go of things. Good lessons there.

Katrina said...

Great perspective on this story, Dianne! Thanks for shifting our focus to Naomi. Your thoughts were right on.

Jennifer said...

Yes, this is an interesting thought. I think that we get so pigeonholed into thinking of certain Bible "characters" in their one-dimensional "Naomi was bitter" role that we stop seeing their whole character and what we can learn from that.