Monday, October 27, 2008
Your Ministry: Loving His Family
Not long ago I was blessed to have run across an excellent Bible study that I am still pondering in my heart and sifting in my mind to this very day. We hear about many verses that talk about being managers of home and of the Proverbs 31 model but I was quite encouraged to learn about loving our husbands family. Did you know loving his family is a form of loving him?
Many jokes in mainstream culture poke fun at the 'in-laws' but in the Christian home we must take seriously the love that is given to his mother, his father and all his siblings (if any). There is no room for wordly flesh-like thinking when it comes to his family and we would all be the better for it once we truly understood and embraced this concept. Let us take a quick peek at the biblical mother/daughter in law model:
*Naomi and Ruth*
1. Ruth respected her mother-in-law---Loyalty and respect were expressed passionately from Ruth:"Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried." Ruth1:16-7
Ladies, when was the last time you said that to you mother-in-law??? When was the last time you heard that on a situation comedy show? Is your loyalty and respect level this high? Have you thanked her for her qualities and verbalized them to her?
2. Ruth was loyal to her mother-in-law---She pledged her undying devotion as she left her home and chose to cleave to Naomi..."The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me."Ruth only wanted death to separate the two---imagine having a relationship like that---or even having a burning desire like that. Our hearts should be praying that our relationship has a heart like this with his mother. Loyalty also means not to put her down to your husband (or anyone else) or criticizing her. Once these things are said they cannot be taken back.
3. Ruth wanted to be with her mother-in-law---Naomi sent her daughter-in-laws away saying "Go return to your mothers house. Turn back and go your way." but Ruth stayed----she was a woman of action and stayed true to her word. Does this describe you?
4. Ruth served her mother-in-law--"Please let me go out to the field, and glean heads of grain." Ruth asks Naomi--and has to work to get the grain and then also lovingly prepare it afterwards. Helping, providing, assisting and working hard--these are attributes that we need to learn, cultivate and strive after. How can we serve our parents on both sides of the family? This surely is a great ministry that is worth our time and eternal.
5. Ruth took her mother-in-laws advice--in Ruth chapter 3 we see Naomi being counseled by her mother-in-law of the customs of her new land. Was she critical and prideful, unable to accept this new teaching? Not at all, instead she was humble and teachable. Are you humble and teachable when others are teaching you?
6. Ruth blessed her mother-in-law---Ruth married and a baby was born--and what did Ruth do? She placed the child in Naomi's arms sharing her happiness and new life. And then went on the the next step...
7. Ruth let her mother-in-law help her--"Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him." Ruth let Naomi help her with her new child, a tender sweet scene--do you see the great picture? Are you sharing your little blessings with their grandparents? Are you finding ways they can spend time together? Do you welcome a hand, no matter how out of practice it is? If you are a grandmother, are you offering to help?
And here we only talked about the mother-in-law relationship---not even mention the rest of his family! As always, many of these principles can apply for them as well. We really need to change the cycle of destruction that has taken over families today and one of the ways we can do this is by mending our relationships with extended family and going one step further--by loving and nurturing them with a spirit like the servant-hearted Ruth. Wouldn't you agree?
(Study by Elizabeth George, A Wife After God' s Own Heart)