Holding our duties with greater care than our circumstances

10 May 2013

In chapter two of Ruth the two main characters of the story so far (Ruth and Naomi) find themselves in Bethlehem.

Even though Ruth is the foreigner, and so wouldn’t be familiar with the customs and culture, she is the one to volunteer to go and look for work. Her place of work are the dangerous fields surrounding Bethlehem where Naomi recognises she could be “assaulted” (v22). And she is also a widow, with no husband or father to jump to her aid or defend her honour.

Her situation is not good but she knows that she is the only one who can provide for her mother-in-law. Ruth holds her duties with greater care than her circumstances.

How we act is often governed by these two things and one usually rules the other. The Bible lays before us duties, we do not perform them in order to gain favour or standing with God, we do them with grateful, worshipful hearts – knowing all that God has done for us and knowing we can only ever do anything good through Him. But this grace is not an excuse for apathy or laziness, instead it is the driving force for holy dutiful living. In fact, grace properly understood must lead to acts of duty and holiness.

What are our duties? Well there is no quick and exhaustive answer. We can give thanks to God that we can read of them in the Bible, be prompted by the Holy Spirit and be regularly led to them by faithful preachers. But one duty before all of us is to care for those God has put around us – and particularly in our family and the church.

You can follow and listen to TCC’s sermon series on the book of Ruth here.

This blog post was written by Dave Hewer.