In my research I found a USA Today article about “What singles consider a must have in a potential date.”
When judging a potential date, both men and women rate teeth at the top, followed by grammar.
(The online survey of 5,481 individuals was conducted by MarketTools Inc. for the Dallas-based dating website Match.com.)
Today I want to make a nomination on what most people are looking for in a relationship. One phrase. I ain’t leaving. We find this attitude portrayed in the bible in the book of Ruth.
6 When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. 7 With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.
Naomi is going home. She’s going back to family members that she doesn’t like but that’s her only option. Her intention is to go alone.
8 Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. 9 May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”
It seems strange to say in this day and age, but the only real hope for either of these women was to go find another husband. Find someone who will protect you and take care of you. All Naomi knows is that it’s not going to be her.
Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.” 11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— 13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”
This is another brutal decision for Naomi. These two girls are the only people in her life. She has been away from home for over a decade. She has fallen in love with these two ladies. Notice she doesn’t call refer to them as in laws. She says “Return home, my daughters.” When my daughter got married I wrote my son in law Tyler a not that I wouldn’t refer to him as my son in law but as my son. I guess I just broke that rule, but you get the point. He’s not an in law or an outlaw he’s now blood. This is how Naomi feels about these girls. But with their best interests at heart Naomi says goodbye.
14 At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye,
Orpah left. Ruth 1:6-14
I think she started her own TV network and a magazine that oddly has her picture on the front of every copy. Here’s a fun fact, Oprah was named after this character in the bible but her mom misspelled her name on the birth certificate so now she is Oprah.
Despite all the odds going against them, look at the end of verse 14
but Ruth clung to her. That word clung reminds me of my kids when they were little. They used to grab me around my ankles and I would walk around with a kid on my foot.
They still do that now when they need money. Ruth clung to her. She wasn’t letting go. No arguing, no reasoning, no worst case scenario was going to scare her off. Still Naomi begs her to leave.
15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”
Her reply is one of the most famous lines in the whole Old Testament.
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me. 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. Ruth 1:15-18
There are a lot of character qualities we want in our relationships.
We want to be with people that have a good sense of humor.
We want to be with people who are loving and kind.
We want compassion.
We want to be with people who look good on our arm and we can show off and can bear cute kids.
We want to be with people who are industrious.
We want people with good teeth.
But I’m going to put it like this. If you want your marriage to be good, if you want to have a strong relationship with your kids, if you want to have friends that give joy to your journey, learn to say this line. I ain’t leaving.
Even though we are in conflict, I ain’t leaving
Even thought life is hard right now, I ain’t leaving
Even though we’ve hurt each other, I ain’t leaving
Even though you stepped out on me, I ain’t leaving
Even though my kid is really getting on my nerves, I ain’t leaving
Even though we haven’t had sex in forever, I ain’t leaving
Even though my kid is entitled, I ain’t leaving.
That’s my nomination. Sometimes that’s all I have. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m not leaving. It hurts and I don’t know how to make it stop, but I’m not leaving. I’m tired of this attitude I’m getting but I ain’t leaving.
I would never ask someone who’s being abused to make this statement.
19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?” 20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” Ruth 1:19-21
We’re heard of people changing their names, right? Marilyn didn’t start off life as Marilyn Monroe and no one names their child Sting. At least they didn’t before Sting. Lots of people do that. See if you can name any of them.
Mark Sinclair sounds like a tax accountant. Does anyone know who he is- Vin Diesel.
Anyone know Carlos Irwin Estevez. Charlie Sheen
Who is Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra. We know her as Meg Ryan. She went from 25 letters to 7. Good call.
Eric Marlon Bishop. Jamie Foxx
Peter Gene Hernandez. Bruno Mars
What do all these people have in common? They took their old, ordinary, boring name and made it exciting. It’s an upgrade. That’s not what we have going on here. Naomi changes her name to Mara. Mara means bitter.
We aren’t going to read the next couple of chapters so let me sum it up. Ruth meets a man named Boaz as she’s foraging for barley. Turns out this guy is a distant relative of Naomi and he can serve as a redeemer for Ruth. It’s a pretty cool love story but I don’t want to tell it right now because It’s sounds like a Jewish Hallmark Movie. A Boyfriend in the Barley Field starring Candice Cameron Bure. These two fall in love and God takes care of Ruth and because of that Naomi is cared for. Both of them have the food they need. Both receive protection. Both have a home and property. Because Ruth wouldn’t leave. Not only were there basic needs fulfilled but God made dreams come true. Look with me at the laster chapter of Ruth
So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. Ruth 4:13
14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” 16 Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him.
Notice here that no-one is calling her Mara. She’s Naomi. She’s contented and happy. She’s living the dream. There is one more footnote I want you to notice.
17 The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. Ruth 4:14-17
Do you know who this David is? He’s David the giant killer. David the most famous king of Israel. That is Ruth’s great grand son. Not only would David make a name for himself, but Ruth would be counted in the line of people that create the genealogy of the Savior of the world. Jesus was related to Ruth.
The book of Ruth is a love story and because of that people make a lot of assumptions about what Ruth was like. We figure Ruth was compassionate and loving. People assume Ruth was beautiful. That she was hot. We surmise that she had a pleasing personality. Do you know what we know about Ruth’s personality. We are only shown one characteristic. She wouldn’t leave. She was loyal. She was dedicated. No matter how hard life got, she ain’t leaving.
There is my nomination for the most important characteristic of a person of character. Just keep showing up. No matter how hard your marriage is, keep showing up. No matter how much you’ve poured into your child and he still is ungrateful, keep showing up. No matter what abuse you’ve taken in that friendship, keep showing up. It starts with one simple decision. When life gets hard simply say this.