so I got to thinking . . . if being ruthless is a bad thing, then is being ruthful a good thing? It would stand to reason logically that being full of “ruth” would be good, if being ruthless (without any ruth) is not good. But just what is “ruth” anyway and how do I get some or more of it?
The dictionary defines ruthless as cruel, heartless, merciless, pitiless, uncaring, callous; well you get the idea. So is ruthful the opposite of all these? meaning kind, full of heart, merciful etc. The name Ruth means “compassionate friend” or “companion”. This would certainly fit with the Ruth of the Old Testament. She was a compassionate friend and companion to her mother in law, Naomi. Ruth proved this by leaving her home and traveling with Naomi to her homeland, where Ruth could expect to know no one and to be an outcast by virtue of the fact that she would be a foreigner among Naomi’s people. Still she went with Naomi.
Yes, I want to be ruthful. I want to be full of those qualities that made Ruth the compassionate friend and companion that she was to Naomi. And Naomi was no picnic, by the way. She was old, alone, broken and bitter, mad at the world and mad at God. Naomi was consumed with self pity and full of complaints for anyone who would listen. Ruth heard and Ruth listened and Ruth lived out her response to Naomi’s heartbreak.
“But Ruth replied, (to Naomi) ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.’ ” (Ruth 1:16-17)
Lord, help me to be that kind of a friend to anyone You would send my way, that like Naomi, needs a friend. Help me to be ruthful not ruthless. Help me to be Ruth to them.
sincerely, Grace Day