Lesson 13 -- first quarter 1996
February 25, 1996
© Copyright 1995, Christian Light Publications
I know what I need. I don't have a written list, but I certainly do have a mental list. Though I positively don't dwell on what I lack, I am definitely aware of it! When I have the money to spare, I am quite inclined to scratch a thing or two off my list. Are you at least somewhat the same way? Then we need to apply some verses to our perspective.
"If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?" (James 2:15,16).Do I know what my brother or neighbor needs? Awareness in this area seems less important. That should not be since we are members one of another! God gives us the resources we have, not just to take care of ourselves, but to contribute to the well-being of others. That is one of the lessons I glean from the life of Boaz.
"But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" (1 John 3:17).
Another way in which I am too self-centered is that of not giving others the praise and encouragement they deserve or need. Here again, I know what I need and what I thrive on. But what about those around me?! After looking at Boaz, I have a renewed determination to open my eyes to ways in which I can encourage and praise others.
Now I have a question that puts you on the opposite end of things. How do you respond (in your head) when someone provides for your material or emotional needs? "I have it coming!" "He has so much and I have so little." "It's about time someone helps me!" "That's all?!" I must confess that I have responded that way at times. The dimensions of human ungratefulness leave the imagination swaying drunkenly. In this area I covet a reaction like Ruth's: "Why have I found grace in thine eyes?"
Consideration, provision, kindness, protection, gratefulness, service--these character traits gleam from this Scripture portion. How we would like to have these priceless jewels gracing our person! But like all precious stones, these have a price. We must get beyond mere desire to firm commitment to pay whatever we must to acquire these things. The price is self. Yes, for these things to exist in us, self has to go. Selfishness cannot co-exist with these elements. We must become other-oriented before we can begin to attain to these things. Consider Ruth's service of Naomi as an example. Ruth served because she loved, not because she hoped to somehow gain or score points. Ruth's goal was to bless Naomi, not herself. What a scary, threatening proposition this can be to us!
"Under whose wings thou art come to trust." When we place ourselves totally at God's mercy we are free to disregard self. As long as we trust the covert of His wings we have no reason to rely on our own wits. Ultimately, the decision to live life for others is a statement of absolute trust and dependence on God.
If you were to use the preceding paragraph to measure your trust in God, how well would you "rate"? I don't come out very well in that test! I want to grow into this kind of trust just as Ruth had to. Do remember as you study this lesson that she was no super-human!
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