I have read through the book of Ruth several times recently and have seen some great applications for my own life. I like to condense lessons that I learn into bite-sized nuggets that I can actually remember and meditate upon. Since the digital equivalent of this is a Tweet, here are several things I learned about the book of Ruth in exactly 140 characters each:
- 1:16-17 Ruth had more than a family connection with Naomi, she embraced her culture and God. This commitment could only be severed by death.
- 1: 20-21 Although Naomi returned to God’s perfect plan for her life and God used her circumstances greatly, her personal joy was sacrificed.
- 2:2 While she could have felt entitled, Ruth took personal responsibility for her mother-in-law’s well-being and volunteered to gather food.
- 2:3 Ruth “happened to come to the part of the field that belonged to Boaz.” From the human perspective sovereignty might appear coincidence.
- 2:4 Boaz seemed to take personal responsibility for everything that happened in his field while still giving God the credit for the results.
- 2:11-12 Boaz told Ruth that he was gracious to her because of her kindness to Naomi. It is usually easier to be generous to generous people.
- 2:20 Although she had pointed out God’s judgment earlier, Naomi was quick to recognize the Lord’s hand of provision, grace, and forgiveness.
- 3:12 Naomi and Ruth seemed to think that asking Boaz to be a redeemer would surprise him, but he had obviously thought of it and had a plan.
- 4:5-6 Whether the rightful redeemers wanted to act seemed to hinge on their knowledge of Ruth. Boaz knew her and didn’t hesitate. #Character
- 4:14-15 Ruth’s faithfulness and Boaz’s kindness brought Naomi full circle: from leaving her inheritance, to repentance, to full restoration.
- Maybe I’m just dense but I’ve never noticed that the theme of the #BookOfRuth is Naomi’s redemption not Ruth’s separation from the Moabites.
What do you think Naomi would have tweeted? After she got Ruth to show her how, of course.
With the Super Bowl kickoff about five hours away hours away and Ray Lewis’ retirement about three hours after that, I’m relieved that we can stop hearing about the guy for a while. But before we close the book on that discussion (until 2018 when he is eligible for the Hall of Fame) I think we have missed one important aspect of his life change- contrition.
It’s not often that my opinion on somebody turns around so drastically as it has Ray Lewis. I couldn’t stand the guy after his brush with the law. Like most fans, I thought he had literally gotten away with murder because of his wealth and celebrity status. Although I’m still pretty sure that opinion is valid, I don’t root against him anymore. It appears he really has found God and has made a 180 in his life. I find Ray Lewis to be one of the most exciting, entertaining, and uplifting players in the NFL.
My opinion has changed for many reasons: His positive words, his speaking out for God, his use of Scripture, his encouragement to those around him, his generally good reputation now, his charitable work, the forgiveness of culture as a whole.
There’s only one thing I haven’t heard–“I was wrong.”
I have heard him plead guilty to obstruction of justice. I have heard him say he was sorry. I have heard he paid over $1 million to the families of the men who were killed. I have heard him speak of forgiveness. I have heard about God’s mercy. I have heard him tell of his change.
I haven’t heard him admit guilt or tell the whole story of how he was involved in an altercation that left two men dead. Even after the obstruction charges, he didn’t testify against his friends and they walked. Two men were stabbed, three other men were there when it happened, and no one was convicted of murder.
There are generally two schools of thought regarding Ray Lewis:
- Let it go. It was a long time ago and he has obviously turned his life around. Everyone deserves a second chance.
- Your actions determine who you are. He made a huge mistake and that should be a huge part of his legacy.
My opinion is somewhere in the middle- I would love to move on and forget about his wrongdoings, but I can’t forgive someone who hasn’t done anything wrong.
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
– Psalm(s) 91 (NIV)
$2.5 billion is a lot of money. Let’s put it this way…If I had $2.5 billion I could pay every NBA player’s salary this year and still have over $500 million to spare (NBA salaries this year total just south of $1.95 billion).
Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.
–Matthew 18:23-24 (ESV)
I’m no expert on currency exchange rates, but using what I do know, I approximated the 10,000 talents that the servant owed the king in Matthew 18 to be the equivalent of $2.5 billion today. Here’s the math:
1 talent was worth 60 minas.
1 mina was what one expected to be paid for three months of labor
1 mina = $4,160 (using modern standards of 40 hours a week at $8 per hour)
1 talent (60 mina) = $249,600
10,000 talents = $2,496,000,000
Even if the dollar figures aren’t exact, the ratios are. Jesus constructed this parable in such a way that the listeners could easily understand the point—the average man, making about $16,000 per year, could never hope to pay back the salaries of the entire NBA. The debt was so huge that the debtor had no hope of doing anything about it himself. But that didn’t stop him from trying.
So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.”
-Matthew 18:26 (ESV)
Really?! You owe someone $2.5 billion and you are asking for a little more time? How ridiculous must I look to God when I try to fix my sin problem on my own? I can’t count the times I’ve told God “I’m sorry I messed up, but I’ll get it right next time.” Do I really think, like the man in the parable, that a little more time and effort will fix that kind of debt? Obviously, the King knows my condition, just like He knew that debtor’s, and does more than I ask.
And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.
–Matthew 18:27 (ESV)
$6,400 is a lot of money to most of us, but is nothing compared to the $2.5 billion mentioned earlier. Let’s put it this way…$6,400 could pay the salary of one NBA team for about 18 seconds of game time.
But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, “Pay what you owe.”
–Matthew 18:29 (ESV)
Using the same basic math as above, this is how I estimated $6,400:
1 denarius = one day’s wage
1 day’s wage = $64 (8 hours at $8 per hour)
$64 per day x 100 days= $6,400
Once again, the exact dollar amounts may be off, but the ratio is correct. The man had just been forgiven a debt 390,000 times greater than the one he was demanding.
Jesus knew how to make a point. If someone owed me $6,400 I would be very worried about it. But if I had just been forgiven $2.5 billion, I hope I would be compassionate. Sure, someone may have mistreated me. I may have been wronged tremendously. It may be a big deal. I may have every right to be unforgiving, but…
When I compare it to the sum of every sin I’ve committed…
When I compare it to the punishment I deserve from God…
When I compare it to the sin debt that I no longer owe…