When we read the biblical exploits of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joseph and David in the Old Testament; Paul and the apostles in the New Testament, many of us are impressed and perhaps have wished that ours are just as significant. Yet for most of us, we live very ordinary lives. We sometimes wonder if such exploits are only for the elected few.
Then we stumbled on the story of Ruth. There was nothing spectacular about her life. She was a Moabite, widowed early in her marriage. However, she made a significant choice to leave her own country and return with her mother-in-law, Naomi, to live in Bethelem with God‘s covenant people.
Eugene Peterson in his Introduction to Ruth in “The Message” has this to say:
‘She is the inconsequential outsider whose life turns out to be essential for telling the complete story of God‘s ways among us. The unassuming ending carries the punch line: “Boaz married Ruth, she had a son Obed, Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David.”
David! In its artful telling of this “outsider” widow, uprooted and obscure, who turns out to be the great-grandmother of David and the ancestor of Jesus, the book of Ruth makes it possible for each of us to understand ourselves, however ordinary or “out of it”, as irreplaceable in the full telling of God‘s story. We count—every last one of us—and what we do counts.’
Each and everyone of us has a story. While we are still alive, it is a story in the making. It is a story that is developed as a result of the interplay of God‘s will and our will in our ordinary daily living. We might not be able to see how our story featured in the lives of others after we pass on. But we have the confidence that our story is significant because it is part of God‘s overall story of salvation and redemption. “Yes, ? we count – every last one of us – and what we do counts.”