It’s no secret that in our culture, we care a great deal about how we are perceived and what people think of us. If there was any lingering doubt, a quick glance at social media will confirm this statement. In our profiles, we go to great lengths to create a image of who we want to be and how we want to be perceived in some cases. Yet the inherent challenge here is, of course, our public personas and our private lives don’t always line up. If we are honest, the more time we spend crafting a public image, the less time we have to give to the pursuit of true wisdom and character.
When we remember the life of Ruth, we are given an example of someone who had an incredible reputation, yet was entirely unaware and unconcerned with her image or status.
Ruth was a woman who knew great pain and difficulty in her life. Though she was a widow without any promise of protection or provision, she had so fully encountered the goodness of God and received a new identity as a daughter in the family of God, that she knew there was nowhere else for her to go, even if the road was painful.
This radical dependence upon God in the midst of trial is the foundation of Ruth’s true identity and character, and it was impossible for others not to take notice and marvel with wonder. Yet, the heart of our reflection today is this: though the reputation of her faithfulness and her character had spread far and wide, she was so busy living out that character that she didn’t even notice.
Ruth never took time to “read her own headlines,” or make sure others had heard of her trust in God or faithfulness in a time of trial, and neither should we.
In an age when disciples are unfortunately known for corruption, abuse, financial scandal, or the quest for political power, how we should instead long to live lives like our sister Ruth, where we have a reputation that precedes us in which we are first and foremost known for our trust in God and our faithfulness to his Word, even in dark and difficult times. Most importantly, let us be so busy doing the work the Lord has given us to do, that we don’t even take the time to notice or celebrate that reputation.