Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Heritage of Faithfulness

Ruth said to her mother-in-law, Naomi: “Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” ~Ruth 1:16 c, d (NRSV).

The genealogy of David, the king over God’s chosen people, Israel, involves the ancestry of this Moabite woman—clearly under normal circumstances, a heathen. Yet, she enters the lineage of Christ.

The heritage is not, then, about a bloodline of obedience—more, in this case and so many more, it is faithfulness. Ruth has proved her worth as an Israelite—regarding what is important to true Israelites—not by being born an Israelite, but by living to their code; in fact, exceeding the requirements of the Jewish Law.

The heritage of faithfulness is about knowing the right thing to do, and doing it, without fail. A life sown in this regard reaps blessing, as ripples, through seceding generations as well its own.

The heritage of faithfulness is the real spirituality of Christianity. Indeed, it is also the theology of Judaism, predating our faith. True faithfulness surpasses the Law. True faithfulness is the achievement of God’s will.

The Exceeding faithfulness of Ruth, Boaz and Jesus

Just as Ruth showed Naomi unsurpassed loyalty, and Boaz rewarded her faithfulness with his, by his hand in marriage—continuing the lineage to Jesus—the Messiah has shown unsurpassed loyalty to humankind—with no limitation—by dying on a cross for our sin.

Jesus owed no loyalty to even the most righteous of humankind, yet he died for the worst of sinners—in God’s terms we are all the same, which is a great comfort to the many.

Whilst the measure of comparison between Ruth and Boaz, and Jesus—the Saviour and Redeemer of the world—is worlds apart, Ruth, Boaz, and Jesus all proved a principle that captivates a practical kindness resonating holy virtue.

We are all capable of exemplifying this principle. That is, to live out a justice in the midst of our fellow humanity that puts the other person at a distinct advantage over even ourselves.

This might be impossible to maintain, day in, day out, every day of our lives, but it is the holy standard we ought to aspire to—to attain and sustain a heritage of faithfulness. Even done in small ways it reaps significant blessings.

Faithfulness unto Blessing

When we live to such a standard—the heritage of faithfulness—as it occurs at least within our families—as far as it is possible for as—we enable the power of God, in this case the unfolding of blessing, to prevail over our living situations.

The heritage of faithfulness sees our works of faith, which are our practical intercessions for others, blessed in so many ways that will far exceed our expectations for the future now. The ways of God work harmoniously in faithfulness; the Lord grows such holy and relational investment.

Faithfulness is the catchcry of a spirituality exceeding the Law; what is faithlessness is ‘religious’, while the faithful are, conversely, Spirit-filled.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Graphic credit: Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, Ruth in Boaz’s Field, 1828 (from Wikipedia).

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