Ruth 1:15 – 17  “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”  But Ruth replied, “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. …”
 
     Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law was in a tough spot.  Her husband had died.  And her sons had died leaving her daughter-in-laws widowed.  Naomi had decided to return to Judah as there was no help or hope for her in Moab.  She urged her daughter-in-laws to return to their families because their prospects were poor if they stayed with her.  One did leave but Ruth wasn’t having any part of that plan.  She would stick with Naomi through thick and thin.  Ruth loved Naomi and stood by her even though they were headed to a place where Moabites were not all that welcome.
 
   The book of Ruth portrays life during the time of the Judges which as we have seen was a time of   unfaithfulness and crisis after crisis.  Within that turmoil, the story of Ruth is a story about faithfulness in the midst of tragedy, in the face of hardship and redemption against all odds.  What would I have done, had I been faced with a choice similar to Ruth’s.  What would you have done?
 
     Popular psychology tells us that you have to know when to cut your losses and run;  “Sometimes, you don’t know when to throw in the towel.   As time passes, it becomes clear that things aren’t working out as you planned.  You realize that pursuing whatever it is that you’re pursuing – whether it’s being successful in your current career, mending a troubled relationship, or renovating your house from top to bottom –  will cost you too much financially or emotionally, or take too long.  But instead of moving on to new opportunities, all too often you simply stay the course and sacrifice your own wellbeing in the process.”  ( from “The Science of Success: How we can all achieve our goals.” by Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D.)
 
     Orpah, Ruth’s sister-in-law, knew when to throw in the towel.  We don’t know what happened to her other than she chose to ‘move on to new opportunities’.  Granted, Naomi urged her to go back to her people and her gods.  Orpah was free to choose and so was Ruth.  We always have a choice!  Not to be too hard on Orpah, at some point in time we are all faced hard choices.  But how do we come to the right decision?  Do we follow the ‘science of success’?  

     A relationship is not an economic transaction. The Bible described the deep friendship of David and Jonathan as a ‘knitting together of souls’.  Ruth and Naomi’s relationship went far deeper than any cost-benefit analysis can describe.  Perhaps the application of a ‘science of success’ is appropriate for shallow relationships.  The Bible helps us to understand what far deeper relationships are about.  Love is an essential ingredient for relationship.  Love is the highest expression of selflessness available to a human being.  Ruth loved Naomi.

     Ruth didn’t throw in the towel and she became the great grandmother of King David.  God blessed Ruth’s faithfulness down many many generations to the birth of Jesus.   Jesus clearly set the standard for relationships;  “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12,13)

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