I have had a bunch of people ask me questions about what women should look for in a future boyfriend or spouse. Which I find quite comical since I am single, however, I have been doing a lot of praying and reading a lot in the book of Ruth, and I have a few answers for you guys. First of all, every girl dreams of their wedding day, and of finding Mr. Right. We all want that movie romance that we see on every screen. A romance like the movie The Proposal, or The Longest Ride, all the Nicholas Sparks books….But the book of Ruth in the bible is a real love story that I want to share. It is a love story that directly points out things you should look for in a future relationship and points out what real love looks like.
I am not going to type the entire book of Ruth for you, but I will give a summary and encourage you to go read it. It is a very short book of the bible so if you have time, I highly recommend it, it is one of my favorites. Ruth, a Moabite woman, married into a family that followed the one true God. Shortly after her marriage her husband died, along with her father in law and brother in law. In this time and culture, when this was to happen, the daughters in law would return home in hopes they could find another husband. Naomi, Ruth’s mother in law, tells Ruth and her sister in law to go back to their home land and try and find new lives with new husbands. Ruth’s sister in law, after arguing for a hot minute ends up leaving Naomi and going home. Ruth however, chooses to stay with Naomi despite the fact that she could get very little from her life with Naomi. Not only that, but she chooses to leave her homeland, her family, her gods, and everything familiar to follow Naomi and remain loyal to her. In chapter two verse 16 after Naomi keeps urging Ruth to leave the bible says, “But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God, my God.'”
This brings me to my first point in the story. Real love stays. Ruth demonstrates amazing love by staying with her mother in law after her husband’s death. She had to make a choice between her old life and the gods of her people or her husband’s family and their God. Ruth must have seen something different in her mother in law and in following her began to serve the one true God. But not only that, she showed such a deep love for Ruth by sticking with her through thick and thin. Real love will never leave you. Real love never fails to stick around. When looking for someone to give your life to you need to keep in mind that real love stays. Real love is someone that will not flee if you were to get sick and need help getting around. Real love is someone that will not leave you because your appearance changes. Real love is someone that will be with you in times of laughter, times of grief, times of plenty, and times of little. Member Ruth, and how she stayed, even though she had little to receive from Naomi, she loved her enough to stay. Ruth commits to Naomi and taking care of her for the rest of her life. This loyalty that Ruth demonstrates toward Naomi is the perfect demonstration of the type of covenant love that God shoes his people.
Now back to the story. Naomi and Ruth make their way back to Bethlehem, where Naomi is from. In Bethlehem, Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man that was in good standing, in other words he had good money and good land, whose name was Boaz. Now Ruth decided one day to go out into the fields and pick up the leftover grain. Of course, she ends up working in the field that is owned by Boaz. As soon as Boaz lays eyes on Ruth his interest is peaked. He says “Who does that young woman belong to?” When he discovers that she is the woman that is taking care of Naomi he tells her that she should use his field whenever she needs and that she can use his water whenever she needs and that his men will protect her. Boaz recognized what Ruth had sacrificed to stay with Naomi and found favor in her. In Chapter two verse twelve Boaz says, “May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” It then later says that Boaz cannot stop showing his kindness and helping Ruth and Naomi.
This brings me to point number two. Real love serves. It puts the needs of others before itself. Boaz allows Ruth to use his field, use his water, and even use some of his men. He ends up lavishing food on her and giving her and Naomi anything they could possibly need to live comfortably, and he does all of this before Ruth does anything for him. He does it without expecting anything in return. In doing this Boaz shows great faith and integrity and demonstrates such a selflessness. He serves her as a source of protection for her as well. When looking for someone to date ask yourself if they are someone with a servant heart. Someone who puts the needs of others before themselves. Someone who will be a servant lover to you, a servant to your children, a servant to the home, their church, to the Lord. Serving is like a muscle and if they are not flexing it right now, then it will not be a strong component of your marriage or relationship.
Again, back to the story. After Ruth has had this encounter in the field with Boaz, she goes back to be with Naomi. As she tells Naomi about this man and all his kinds Naomi starts to wonder about him. When Ruth tells her his name Naomi realizes that Boaz is a relative, and at this time he was a potential family redeemer. In this time a “guardian – redeemer” was someone who acts as a protector of family rights and can provide and heir for a deceased relative. In other words, Ruth still had a chance to get married and provide grandchildren if Boaz were to take her hand in marriage. So naturally, Naomi goes into full on matchmaker mode. She begins to make plans to make this relationship happen. Ruth goes back every single day to the field in hopes of catching his attention. Then one day Naomi comes up with a plan and tells Ruth to get herself cleaned up and put on her nices clothes and perfume and tells her to go over to Boaz’s house. Naomi tells Ruth to go and pull the covers off of Boaz’s feet and lay there at his feet, and when he awakes Naomi tells her to basically propose. Her going under his feet like this was like a sign of submission. Boaz wakes up in the middle of the night wondering who is under his feet and Ruth responds that she is his servant Ruth, and basically she proposes to Boaz. She says man if you like then go ahead and put a ring on because I am ready for you to be my Bo, my Boaz. But then he realizes there is a closer family relative that is in line to get married before him. So he goes to him and tells him about Ruth and basically tries to talk her down and then asks if he wants to marry Ruth. He basically says no and that he is not interested and Boaz is super excited and head home and the get married. Then after they get married they have a son, and Naomi has a grandson. And all worked out well for them and the Lord blessed them.
Another component of real love for us. Real love sacrifices. Boaz sacrificed money, time, his inheritance, his future, at significance cost to him. He gave up his field, he said that he would take care of both Ruth and Naomi for the rest of their life, and he had to decide that he was going to have half Jewish babies. She was a foreign woman, and he sacrificed his inheritance and his land and gave it to children that were not fully Jewish, which was a huge deal back in this time. He chose to sacrifice those things because real love always sacrifices for one another. Just as Christ gave up his life for you, you and whomever you have a relationship should be willing to sacrifice things for you. It means that they will die to the things they want to do. Real love will sacrifice going on a vacation to the rocky mountains to take your other half to the vacation they want. Real love will sacrifice going to their yoga class to take the kids to soccer practice so that you can get things done. Real love does not exist without sacrifice because without sacrifice the love is selfish. You put things aside for the sake of the relationship, for the sake of expressing real love. Relationships will not last without sacrifice. You cannot have a Godly relationship if you always choose yourself.
To recap the three things I have said so far. Real love stays. Real love serves. Real love sacrifices. I cannot take full credit for this blog because I was inspired by a podcast that I heard on the way to work, however, these three components all add up to one massive component that you need to look for when looking for a future spouse. Boaz’s love for Ruth is a picture perfect image of the way that God loves the Church. He takes notice of her, redeems her, lavishes grace upon her and places her within the community of faith as her guardian-redeemer. You need to look for someone that loves like Jesus loves. Someone that centers their life on the Lord. Not only this, but in order to find someone that embodies all of these components you need to embody these as well. You need to stay, be constant, be willing to make a covenant. You need to serve others and put others needs before your own. You need to sacrifice the things you want and the things of this world for others and for the Lord. And most importantly, you need to center your life on the Lord and love like Jesus loves before you begin the search for someone. The Lord knows the desires of your heart, and if you simply place your life solely in his hands, he will deliver those desires to you.
First Corinthians chapter 13 is known as the love chapter. To end this blog I am going to list what it says love is.
1 Corithians 13:4-8
” Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love Never Fails. “
A close friend of mine once said that when you can place your name every time it says love in these verses, then you are ready to open up your heart to another. This is Real Love, the love of Jesus. Now I have a little humor to add to this blog since it was long winded and a little bit heavier then most. It is a picture at the bottom that I saved immediately after I saw it. The thing I hope all of you to remember is that you should never have to settle. If you don’t feel like the person you are with stays, serves, sacrifices, and demonstrates love and compassion like Jesus then move on. Wait for your Boaz, because I promise he is out there somewhere.