The Great ‘What If?’ Some Lessons From Naomi, Ruth and Boaz

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By Roxanne Drury 

Have you ever daydreamed a scenario and wondered…what if? I know I have. A while back, I wondered what if I could spend my days writing curriculum so Sunday school teachers could teach kids about Jesus in a fun, meaningful way. My ‘what if’ actually happened and I am truly happy as a clam doing it. I have received such a blessing from the work I do because it was God’s plan for me. 

What if’s make things happen, what if’s make dreams come true, what if’s are the mind at work in new and exciting ways to bring about change. Usually, great things come when the what if’s actually happen. But sometimes, what if’s hold us back. I’d like to share with you the greatest what if story I have ever heard. It all starts with a woman named Naomi. 

Scene 1: Naomi has lost her husband and both of her sons. However, she has two wonderful daughters-in-law. Naomi must return to her homeland, Bethlehem. One daughter-in-law returns to her own family. The other daughter-in-law, Ruth, refuses to leave Naomi. She claims undying loyalty and devotion and shows much kindness to Naomi and so travels to Bethlehem with her. 

What if Ruth did not travel with Naomi? Being an older woman, traveling alone, might Naomi have come to harm on the road? 

Scene 2: Ruth and Naomi get to Bethlehem and Naomi remembers about a cousin, Boaz, and sends Ruth to glean in his field. 

What if Ruth was not an obedient daughter-in-law? What if Boaz no longer lived there? 

Scene 3: Boaz notices Ruth and her hard work ethic. He discovers that she is caring for Naomi and recognizes her faithfulness and loyalty to his relative. But he also sees that she is beautiful and vulnerable, so he has his worker protect her. 

What if Boaz had been too busy to notice Ruth or inquire about her? What if the worker did not protect Ruth or leave extra grain for her? What might have been Ruth’s plight? 

Scene 4: Boaz arranges for Ruth to be redeemed (i.e., released from the one the culture at the time dictated she should marry) and marries her himself. 

What if the one she was supposed to marry refused to let her go? What if Ruth was thinking,  “What if Boaz is not a nice man?” 

Conclusion: Naomi is blessed with a new family. Boaz is blessed with a caring, loyal, hardworking, faithful, beautiful wife. Ruth is blessed with motherhood. 

Though they were not aware of it, the lives of Naomi, Ruth and Boaz were intertwined in such a way that there was meaning and purpose in every detail. A God-sized plan, if you will, was being played out through these people. 

What if… 

  • Ruth had not stayed with Naomi and she chose to go her own way.
  • Ruth wasn’t such a hard worker and didn’t faithfully go to the field every day to gather grain.
  • Ruth didn’t humble herself at the feet of Boaz, or she refused to marry him.

These were all choices that Ruth made. Just think if she made one different choice, she may have missed out on all that God had planned for her. She may have missed out on love and children. She may have missed a blessed life. 

And what of the world? You may be thinking to yourself, “What does Ruth’s what if story have to do with the world?” Well, my friend, I am so glad you asked. 

If not for Ruth and who she was and the choices she made to be faithful and loyal and obedient…here it comes…the world may have missed out on a Savior – the extended blessing. Check out Ruth 4:18-22: “This, then, is the family line of Perez: Perez was the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, Boaz the father of Obed (Ruth was his mother), Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David.”   

From the line of David came the Messiah – the Savior. 

Yes, God possibly, probably, most definitely would have made it happen some other way if Ruth had made other choices; but the important thing is, He wrote it into Ruth’s story and she followed His plan. 

All this is to say that God has a plan for each and every one of us. It is our job to figure it out and just do it! We can’t let the what if’s stop us from making the right choices. Each of us can be a Ruth – faithfully serving, staying loyal to family, being obedient to God and ever hard-working, doing His kingdom work however and wherever He places us to do it. 

God’s plan for you this day, in this time, no matter what is going on in the world, is meaningful and purposeful and blessed. So very blessed. There is no what if that should hold you back from doing the work God has planned for you. None. Zilch. Nada. 

And the blessings – oh, the blessings – when you follow His plan for your life. They are abundant! You will be blessed because of what you do, and you will be a blessing. It just doesn’t get any better than that. 

So kick those what if’s that are holding you back from following God’s plan right out the door. They have no place in your story – the story that God wrote for your life so many, many years ago. Make the choice. Be a Ruth! What could/would happen if you did? 

 

Roxanne Drury is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired Christian preschool teacher with a teaching certificate in Early Childhood Education. She has served the Lord in children’s ministry for over 40 years and is currently on staff at Rockharbor Church. 

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