“The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. (Ruth 3:10-11 NIV)
The beginning of the story saw an old woman bitter at the setbacks she experienced. Returning to her homeland she expressed how she had initially left with much and now returned with nothing. Yet here is the same woman who recognises her responsibility to her daughter-in-law. This is a compassionate concern for the welfare of this dear woman who left all to follow her.
Meanwhile this daughter-in-law exercised a great deal of responsibility in paying careful attention to instructions and following them. She was a grown woman with a mind of her own who could have done whatever she wanted, but her devotion prioritised her movements. Such devotion and responsibility had gained her a great reputation for being of noble character. Not only was there devotion but there was discretion in keeping with the request of the man to whom her mother-in-law sent her.
This man responded to the great approach of kindness by taking his responsibilities seriously in looking to follow the request of the woman who approached him. Not only was there a desire to exercise responsibility to her, however, there was a conscious determination to pursue righteousness. He sought to follow all the due procedures to ensure that either way this woman would be looked after well. His ongoing responsibility to the family extended beyond looking after the woman, but going on to generously look after the mother-in-law of the woman who approached him.
That completes a circle of responsibility where the desire to express devotion to the other brought blessing and abundance through a compassionate concern for the other.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden