Living in Sweden, we were accustomed to receiving gifts of chocolates, beautiful cakes, or flowers when someone visited. Being the recipient, it was such a joy. Gifts are a love language of many, and definitely one of mine.
Growing up, my room would be converted to a guestroom as needed. Often guests would leave a gift. I have fond memories running to my room after they left to find my surprise. I favored the guests by the gifts they left. Their kindness to me did not go unnoticed. I am reminded of individuals who did not go empty handed to the ones they loved.
Naomi returned home from the land of Moab empty handed, destitute, a sorrowing widow, without children, and bitter toward herself (Ruth 1:21). Her husband’s decision to move the family to Moab led her into the darkness; God’s grace led her out. That same grace caused Ruth, her daughter-in-law, to opt for the better part and accompany her.
Ruth left everything she knew behind when she decided to accompany Naomi. Having lived abroad I understand the significance of this. The thought of “home” warms the heart at its mention. The memories of home become more dear with each passing year. Ruth’s kindness and loyalty to Naomi brought her to a new home. Her commitment to her mother-in-law and a God she did not know is impressive.
Naomi thought she was returning empty handed, but in reality she returned to Israel with the greatest gift known to mankind and a fulfillment of prophecy. Ruth, the Moabite, became of great value to the kingdom as part of the lineage of Jesus (Matthew 1:5). In the pit of despair, Naomi could not see God’s plan unfolding. She even instructed Ruth to return back to her family, back to her gods, but Ruth determined to stay on the path that led to favor -God’s favor. It wasn’t long before God began to shine His light into Naomi’s darkness.
When we can talk of little else but our dark circumstances, it is God’s hand that lifts us out of troubled waters and places us beside still waters. Often He pairs us with a sister who helps amend our thinking, offers encouragement, and gives the strength needed to lift our head and watch God’s plan unfold. There’s no need to walk alone.
Jesus left a great gift, and we can each become a recipient. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Do not go empty handed to the ones you love. Bring with you His grace, His love, His peace, His joy. Your kindness will be noted.
Paula Nilsen grew up on the mission field in Norway and Sweden. She currently attend LifePoint Sanctuary in Moorhead, Minnesota. She was recently appointed as an AIM worker to Scotland and is currently raising funds for that endeavor.