The women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age…’ Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. Ruth 4:14-15, Ruth 4:16
A new baby being introduced to a beaming grandparent is not an unusual scene. But Naomi’s history and the future of this little family make this scene quite extraordinary.
Naomi had returned to Bethlehem having buried her husband and sons, empty-handed and sorrowful. Now her life and lap were full again with joy and hope. Here was a future generation of her family to bring life and nourishment in her old age. In this sense, the child brought her freedom—redemption. But as we look back on this ordinary scene from this side of the incarnation, we also know that it declares extraordinary news: because of God’s gracious care for two defenseless widows, all of Israel—indeed, all of mankind—was helped. Through Ruth, God continued a family line that would later lead to King David, and then on to Jesus Christ Himself.
Even Jesus, this King of kings and Lord of lords, was found among the ordinary things of life. He too lay in someone’s lap. He had ordinary earthly parents. He was born in an animal stable, not a great palace. His victory came through a criminal’s cross, not a conquered throne. This is not what most would expect of the incarnate God Almighty—yet, just as the wise men looked for Jesus first at the palace (Matthew 2:1-3), so we often start looking for Him in the wrong places. And when we do, we are in danger of ending up as a “Mara” rather than a “Naomi” (Ruth 1:20), feeling bitter rather than enjoying contentment.
God’s eternal plans unfold in the midst of the ordinary—ordinary people in ordinary places doing ordinary things. If you lead an ordinary life, this should encourage you! Very few of us will even be a footnote in history. Whether you are an ordinary mother raising ordinary kids doing ordinary things day in and day out, an ordinary grandpa telling the same old ordinary stories, or an ordinary student going about your ordinary routine homework and activities—whatever sort of ordinary you are—the glory of God can be found all around you. And your faithfulness in the midst of the ordinary may, by His grace, become the means of extraordinary impact for the sake of the gospel.
When you are tempted to feel like you’re not doing much—to believe the devil’s lie that you cannot make a difference or are outside of God’s purposes—remember this: long after human achievement, words, and wisdom fade, the faithfulness, kindness, integrity, love, and gentleness that God works in and through you will be seen to have had a more dramatic impact on the lives of men and women than you could ever imagine. This is the wonder of Naomi’s story and the wonder of all of history—that God’s extraordinary glory is at work in the ordinary. That truth can change the way you feel about and go about your day.
Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.