Ruth worked hard at her job, staying into the evening until she had finished beating out the grain she had collected. She is a biblical example of a woman who spent time to develop her career skills, a nod to the many sisters who pursue graduate degrees or career promotions. She did not, however, ignore the other aspects of her life. As a single woman, Ruth had her hands full with multiple responsibilities–her mother-in-law, financial duty, and a budding relationship.
Ruth shared her wages with her family, Naomi, and took care of Naomi’s needs. While many youths starting jobs and careers will pour their earnings and free time into entertainment, better clothes, bigger flatscreen TVs, or other self-centered products, Christian youths should remember God’s standard in their spending priority. Perhaps we can hire a lawn mower for our aging parents or buy groceries for them once a month. When we remember our parents, God will remember us.
In addition to maintaining a connection with a parent, she also started a romantic connection. While the student spiritual convocations teach high school and younger youths to abstain from dating, there is also a time to date and we read about Ruth during that appropriate time: when one is ready to continue life’s journey with a partner in marriage. Ruth carried on a courtship while she also kept busy gleaning grain, so working on a career or education is not mutually exclusive with taking out the time to date. We should accept opportunities of courtship, or at least consider them and putting them in prayer. Ruth listened to Naomi’s suggestion of Boaz, which requires stepping outside her comfortable routine and into the unknown–as we might have to when we talk to a church marriage coordinator or accept a brother’s invitation to start an email correspondence or chat over coffee.
One of the greatest lessons I learned from Ruth is to follow God’s standard for finding a husband. Ruth had a duty to marry her husband’s relative, just like we have a duty to marry a member in the True Jesus Church. Boaz was older, and Ruth had the pick of younger men in the field or finding a man in her hometown. For sisters, the men we meet in the world may be more educated, wealthier, or more handsome than church brothers we know, but what use of a companion would he be if he couldn’t share in our joy of experiencing the Holy Spirit and if he couldn’t lift up our faith and pray with us when we’re feeling down. Just like God led Ruth to Boaz in the land of Canaan, we can trust that God will lead us to the right brother in True Jesus Church.
Once Ruth starts a relationship with Boaz, she demonstrates the Biblical principle that the purpose of dating is to get married. This couple seeks the counsel of elders and the next of kin for permission to get married. Instead of drawing out their courtship, they were wise to seek out any barriers as soon as possible. Dating for too long, more than one or two years, makes breaking up much harder when the couple and their friends and family are emotionally, and unfortunately for the couple perhaps even physically, entangled. But if we treat our boyfriends and girlfriends with purity and aim to draw closer to God together, then a break up is not a shameful matter, but rather a praiseworthy moment where we can thank God for helping us to grow through this relationship and for finding out that we are not compatible before it’s too late, like after tying the knot.
Ruth is an excellent role model for how a modern Christian woman, and also man, can glorify God during singlehood. It is a time for us to develop a caring relationship with our parents, as well as allowing ourselves to develop godly romantic relationships (one at a time, of course).