For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you live, I will live. - Ruth 1:16b
Twenty years ago, I never would have pictured myself here...in Bondurant, Wyoming, surrounded by a faith family, hearts ablaze for the Lord. And as I reflect this morning, drinking coffee and reading Ruth, I see nothing but the providence of God. Where we, as brothers and sisters, as believers, are not subject to fate but remain always under the providential care of God.
We laugh together. We cry together. We pray together.
Nothing separates us from each other. We may not always agree with each other. We may struggle, at times, with one another. But never will we leave anyone behind. We bring the salve of sweet words to brothers and sisters with open wounds. When we are in denial, you can bet there will be someone we can call on to tell us the truth. When we need stability and support, our family is stronger than any concrete footing. The hearts of these men and women are larger than life. And yes, when one family member follows their heart in another direction, we start planning road trips and counting frequent flyer miles for the next visit.
As I sit back and examine these relationships, they reflect likenesses of the relationship between Naomi and Ruth; where these lessons are both for men and women. What makes their bond so great?
There must be a mutuality of commitment between each other.
The gratitude in the heart of one awakens loyalty in the heart of the other.
The selflessness on the part of one demands unselfishness from the other.
The bitterness in one gives opportunity for creativity in the other.
The interest from one is rewarded by a warm response from the other.
The counsel from one bears fruit when accepted and honored by the other.
As brothers and sisters, by blood, or by Christ, we each have unique gifts that we share with each other; building one another up, building the family up. We share one another's joys and struggles. Not just on Sunday, but every other day of the week, too. The support of prayer and love abounds; builds strength in one another; and creates a bond so tight that nothing can separate.
While we can learn from our observations of the relationship of Ruth and Naomi, we cannot forget the Kinsman Redeemer. In their story, Boaz takes the role. In our story, its Jesus. Without hesitation, Jesus (and Boaz) paid the cost required for the ones he loved; a selfless and sacrificial love. Without Jesus, our brotherhood & sisterhood would not exist. We are not the faith family I described above, without our roots in Jesus.
As brothers and sisters, our hearts are bound together by the roots of Christ. We are the branches; each with unique characteristics that bring laughter, love and compassion into our family. How blessed we are to be bonded by our redeemer. Our healer. Our everlasting light.
Welcome to the 'Hood!
Are you in search of a faith family? Perhaps, there is just something missing in your life and you don't quite know what it is? I invite you to come on over to our house take a seat in the Bondurant Fellowship living room. Come and meet your brothers and sisters and see what the love of Christ has in store for you.