Those Small Acts of Faith
“Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. The women living there said, ‘Naomi has a son!’ And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.”
Ruth 4:16-17 (NIV)
The book of Ruth in the Old Testament is a lovely story. Ruth, a Moabite by birth, chooses to return with her mother-in-law, Naomi, to Israel. Ruth is quoted as saying: “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.” (Ruth 1:16)
With no husband, no father in-law, and no other male members of the family left, Ruth faced an uncertain future in the culture of that time. The four chapters of this small book explain how God provided for both Ruth and Naomi through the personal intervention of Boaz, who eventually became Ruth’s husband.
A great story, with a great ending, and to top it off, Ruth is the great grandmother of King David. From Matthew 1:5, we also know that Ruth is an ancestor of Jesus Christ. Wonderful! Ruth’s small act of faith—to go back to Israel with Naomi—was used by God to bring about great things.
Yet, Ruth never saw those great acts of God. From Ruth’s point of view, finding a new husband in Boaz was wonderful enough. God had provided for Ruth in an overflow of his grace and mercy. But she probably never saw the birth of David (the youngest of 8 brothers), let alone see David become King.
How about you? As you carry out those small acts of faith every day, do you feel that you are quite insignificant? You may hear or read about great miracles, incredible healings and wonderful conversions, but they don’t seem to happen in your life. Perhaps you wonder if you are some ‘second-string’ Christian.
Don’t believe any of it. In Jesus, God never lets our acts of faith go to waste. “In him [Jesus] the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:21-22) Our Father is building something new, something not yet clearly seen by all the world. You—your acts of faith—are all being used by God for a purpose that will astound us all.
We don’t yet know the full implications of our call to faith in Jesus. But it will be fantastic! Remember the story of Ruth. Her small act of faith brought about great things she never saw. And when we finally see eternal life, we will truly see what God did with all our small acts of faith.
As Paul prayed, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever!” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
By Ian Woodley, From Day By Day: