Missiology Through Scripture – Ruth 1:16

“But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.’” – Ruth 1:16

This statement by Ruth is a testament that she is not just passively tolerating Yahweh, but she has chosen to follow and worship him. Ruth is an embodiment of what Jesus, her descendent, will later state as evidence of obedience in life (Mar 10:29-31). Ruth’s love for Naomi and submission to God is praiseworthy.

Ruth stands before Yahweh and proclaims, “Lord, I avail myself to you. All I have is yours. All I am is yours.” She is willing to leave the known for the unknown to glorify the Lord. Jonathan Edwards said, “Ruth forsook all her natural relations, and her own country, the land of her nativity, and all her former possessions there, for the sake of the God of Israel; as every true Christian forsakes all for Christ.”[1] Certainly this is a terrifying proclamation for Ruth. She is admitting what God already knows, that all she is and has is from God and for God.

Availing one’s self to the Lord is the first horrifying step to obedience. The reason is, as we know, God may just take us up on our offer sacrifice for his splendor. Many Christians live their lives proclaiming they exist for the Lord’s glory, but truly being willing to sacrifice one’s life, health, family, and luxury to advance God’s kingdom is a proclamation few modern Christians are willing to honestly make. Many of us are willing to follow the Lord up until it makes us uncomfortable. We sing hymns, and recite creeds pledging, “all for you oh Lord,” but when it comes to sacrificing our comfort and safety few are unwilling to take that submissive next step.

Obedient disciples of Christ are not all ordered to forsake everything to serve the Lord. But, every disciple is called to be willing to abandon everything for God’s glory. Sadly, that concept is a deal breaker for many modern Western Christians.


[1] Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 1 (Banner of Truth Trust, 1974), 664.