Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Good Examples

Daily Gratitude Year 5- Day 101: Today, I am grateful for good examples.

I've been blessed to have a life rich with "good examples". Examples of faithful marriages, good work ethic and examples of faith in the living God. Not perfect people, but those who made diligent, consistent efforts to do the "right thing" in the eyes of man and God. 

I've been blessed to grow up rural. Country folk might seem less sophisticated to our urban counterparts... but when the chips are down and true grit is needed... rural people not only have your back, they will provide a meal, a home and a car if you are one short. Gratitude is reciprocal... and relationships are formed that last a lifetime. 

I was just listening to a scientist, an astrophysicist who said, : "Most atheists live in cities. It is hard to spend time in nature and not believe in God." I couldn't agree with him more. 

One of my favorite farmers of the Bible is Boaz. His love story is found in the book of Ruth. He is smitten with the young Moabite woman who remains faithful to her depressed mother-in-law and to the God she came to know when she married Naomi's son, Mahlon. 

Two widows return... the elder one to her home and the youthful Ruth to a foreign place... and they do their best to get by. Ruth presses on through the grief of loss and pushes Naomi to do the same. Ruth never gives up and she won't let Naomi quit either. 

Ruth asks to be allowed to take what is dropped and left in Boaz's fields after his workers have finished the harvest. Boaz is a relative of her late husband, Mahlon, and Naomi.  She is granted her request. Then, Boaz sees her at work in the field and is moved by her work ethic and her kindness to Naomi. Her beauty... a little foreign... strikes a chord, but it is not the thing that truly moves him to take interest. It is the whole package of Ruth. Her loyalty, compassion and work-ethic all fell under his notice.  

Ruth takes some risks, but she trusts the God of Israel that she has come to know intimately in her time of sorrow. When life got hard... really hard... God does not fail her. 

Boaz is not the first in line for Ruth when he decides to ask for her hand in marriage - closer relatives get first dibs.(cultural rules)  She is in demand and desirable until Boaz reminds the circle of men discussing her fate that with Ruth comes Naomi. 

Suddenly, the others were less interested, and Boaz became her husband. Naomi came in the package. God did a healing in their lives and restored hearts that were once so broken in grief, that they could barely beat. He is a good, good God. 

As love healed... the family tree would grow and King David and Jesus would be from the branch of Boaz and Ruth. How amazing is our God! 

Ruth learned to give thanks in the trials... and God blessed her faithful heart. David showed the same faith in God through many of the struggles he faced. Then... Jesus taught by the ultimate example. He gave thanks on the night he would be betrayed. Yes... he paused for gratitude, knowing what was ahead. 

I loved the book 10,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. This image is from her website. If Jesus can give thanks knowing he is about to be betrayed, then we can give thanks through our struggles. 

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 
1 Corinthians 11:23-24

Knowing what was ahead - he gave thanks. Knowing it would be hard - he gave thanks. Knowing he needed to give us an example, he gave thanks. 

He was willing to lay down his life for the men around the table... all of them. 

By his wounds you have been healed.-1 Peter 2:24

Today, I am grateful for good examples... especially Jesus. 

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