The week in our podcast Epic Every Day we talked about living on the verge. The verge is when you feel like you’re a house of cards only one move from collapsing. I think most of us are familiar with the feeling in our society, unfortunately. As I was doing my Bible study this week, I was struck by how we have a choice.
We can live on the verge in that frantic, trying to control, trying to do thing in our own strength—or we can live God’s way.
Living God’s way is very different. I’m doing Ruth right now in my Bible study. I love that book! I love how God sets Boaz up to be the perfect kinsman-redeemer for Ruth (his mother was Rahab, a former Canaanite prostitute, so he’s understanding of the plight of foreigners). Chuck Missler talks about how the book of Ruth is a type of Christ because Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer. Obviously, it’a not just a type; it’a also a story about real people. Reading through chapter 2, I’m amazed both by Ruth’s actions and Boaz’s.
Ruth leaves her family, her home, her culture, etc., etc. and accompanies her widowed mother-in-law. Once they reach Bethlehem, Ruth provides for Naomi by working in Boaz’s fields. God provided for the poor during that time by commanding the Israelites to leave a part of their fields (the edges) available for the poor (Lev. 23:22). Anyone could come harvest. I’m always in awe of that system. It gave power to the poor by allowing their work to matter, allowing them to provide for themselves. They had dignity and purpose even though it was a societal method of providing for everyone. But I digress.
Ruth gleans in Boaz’s fields and he commands his workers to leave extra stalks for her to glean. He also allows her to eat with the workers and provides water and roasted grain. In other words, not only is he making it easy for her to gather food, he’s also making sure she’a got the energy to do that work.
Psalm 127:1-2 says, “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves” (NIV).
One of the things I regularly pray is that I will build where God is building. That I won’t be off doing my own thing because that means that I’m wasting my time 100%. I was reminded of Psalm 127 reading Ruth. Because of Boaz’s kindness Ruth was able to gather more grain when she followed along after Boaz’s harvesters than if she had been harvesting in someone else’s field. God is the same way–when we align with His design for our lives, we are more fruitful in less time. He provides fruitful labor and the energy to engage in that labor.
One of the analogies I really like that I mentioned on the show this week is the ocean current in Finding Nemo (or Finding Dory). I love that idea that following God is like jumping into the current. It takes you places more quickly and with less effort on your part.
Aligning with God’s way isn’t necessarily life or death. I’m not saying it never is–just look at how addictions can destroy your body–but I think we get lulled into a false sense of security. Moving through our days, we get numbed by the sameness and we forget that what we do does matter. We forget that we are fighting for our lives–what they’ll be like, what legacy we’ll leave, how we’ll spend ourselves. Following our callings matters! Just like Naomi couldn’t see what God’s doing in Ruth 1 when her husband sons died and she ended up going back to Israel, talking about how God had afflicted her. In reality, God was paving the way for David and for Jesus and had plans to bless her again (Ruth 5).
Don’t doze off. You’re fighting for your life! You don’t have time to get swept away in busyness and complacency.