To Risk or Not?

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

“Naomi, her mother-in-law, said to Ruth, ‘My daughter, I need to seek some security for you, so that it may be well with you. Now here is your kinsman Boaz, with whose young women you have been working. See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Now wash and anoint yourself, and put on your best clothes and go down to the threshing floor.” [Ruth 3:1-3a]

 Did you notice that Naomi called her daughter-in-law, “daughter”? As the story continues to unfold we begin to sense a reciprocation of Ruth’s devotion and commitment to her mother-in-law.  Naomi is deeply concerned for her daughter’s future and she devises a plan that is very risky.  Early in the story Ruth is described as “worthy.” She is noticed for her efforts and praised for cleaving to Naomi and forsaking her people.  Ruth has an impeccable reputation at this point in the story, but we know how fragile reputations can be if the rumor mill takes hold. It is never easy to take risks, especially if the risk can be construed as something dishonorable. A tarnished reputation, even if the accusations are false, is hard to repair. This coming Sunday we will dive more deeply into this text, but in the meantime reflect on risks that you have taken in the past. Did your actions put your reputation at risk? What gave you the courage to act, even if your reputation could possibly be tarnished? Ruth had said to Naomi, “Your people shall be my people, and your God my God,” and so she declared to her mother-in-law, “All that you tell me I will do.”


Holy One, I am not always a risk taker. I weigh my options and often choose not to act, preferring my comfort rather than the unknown. Yet, Ruth continually chooses to act. Give me Ruth’s courage. Help me listen to your voice, O God, and trust the Spirit’s stirrings in my heart which call me to act in order to bring heaven on earth, even when the way is risky. Amen.

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