LESSONS FROM RUTH
The past two weeks have been pretty hectic for me, but thank God I survived.
Last week, I was scheduled to teach my students in Grade 7 on ‘Service’. Ruth (of the Bible) was the illustration. The class was fun, I’m telling you. I made it an interactive class and there were so many views about Ruth. To round of the class, I gave the children 24 hours to prepare brief notes comparing Ruth to the modern day Nigerian woman. Ahhhh. You should have seen their presentations. Fantastic.
Here’s a summary of Ruth: Ruth can be read as a drama in four acts, with a prologue and epilogue attached. The prologue tells us how Naomi, her husband and two sons went to Moab, where her sons married. Eventually, Naomi’s husband and sons died, and she decided to return to Bethlehem in Judea (1:1-7). In the first act, Naomi tells her Moabite daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, to stay in Moab. Orpah eventually agreed, but Ruth refused to leave Naomi and accompanied her to Bethlehem (1:8-22). The next act sees Ruth gathering barley in the fields of Naomi’s relative, Boaz, who showed special concern for Ruth (2:1-23). The third act takes place at the threshing floor where, at Naomi’s instigation, Ruth hides until Boaz falls asleep and then quietly lies down by his feet. When Boaz awakes, Ruth expresses her desire to marry him according to the custom of the kinsman-redeemer. But Boaz tells her that another man has a prior claim (3:1-18). Finally, at the city gate, the other relative renounces his claim, and Boaz marries Ruth (4:1-12). The epilogue relates Naomi’s joy at this turn of events and then lists some of Ruth’s descendants, including David (4:13-18).
So, my assignment revolved around act one: Compare the actions of Ruth in act one to a modern day Nigeria woman.
Now, I liked a few and it’s quite difficult for me to pick the best, so YOU are going to vote on who gets the highest point for a job well done.
Here we go.
Most Nigerian women would not have done what Ruth did. Most women will not stay with their mother in-law after the death of their husband. For what, really? For instance, if I was Ruth and had children, I think I would focus on my children’s education. If I was working, I definitely will NOT leave my job to accompany an old woman. I may consider remarrying and starting all over again. I will not travel to an unknown village with her. But I guess her unique kindness stood her out for consideration as a great, great, grandmother of Jesus, right?
I think Ruth’s love for her mother-in-law is exemplary. It showed she loved her whole family, not just her husband, but her husband’s family and his people. Women, these days, think that they marry only the husband but they don’t know they marry the whole family. Mothers should imbibe the culture of hospitality in their children. Ruth had an attitude of hospitality in her and so it was easy for her to love her mother in-law with tolerance.
If Ruth was a typical Nigeria woman, I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes. Your husband, brother in-law and father in-law, all dead. In Nigeria, she (including her sister in-law) would be called a witch. And to worsen it, she didn’t have a child for her late husband.
A more courageous woman would have abandoned her mother-inlaw and maybe run off with all her husband’s property.
Naomi and Ruth suffered terrible misfortune: the men in their family died.
Looking at modern day women, I do not think they would have persevered and stayed with their in-laws in that time of sorrow and grief. These days, women usually say…’for better for stay, for worse for go’. I’m very sure most women would have cut ties with Naomi, remarried and left Naomi to live a miserable life till she dies. As a boy, growing to be a man, I would like to believe that my wife will be able to take good care of my mum if anything happens to me.
I think Ruth was able to show love to Naomi because Naomi also loved her. If you lack love from others check your lifestyle and your love for others. Ruth didn’t lack love because of the way she lived and loved. Women who feel unloved generally live an unloving life. I think the problem with most daughters-inlaw is that they don’t know how to work their way into the heart of their mother in-law because of their unloving life. I may be wrong, but I think what I said is true.
Then, Ruth was a woman of faith and this coupled with her obedience brought blessings and a complete transformation in their lives. Some Nigerian daughters-in-law have no faith neither do they obey God’s instructions concerning love. A faithless and loveless woman will not make a good wife or in-law.
I think the actions of Ruth were very risky though brave. Some women will deviously scheme to get their hands on their late husband’s money and probably remarry. I heard that Moabite women were very pretty, so it couldn’t have taken much for her to bid Naomi goodbye and find another man. Easy.
Naomi would also have cared for and loved Ruth or else Ruth would not have considered moving cities with her mother in-law. No woman, Nigerian or not, will travel with an in-law that behaves like a witch to a strange land. That is going to be a real struggle. I may be in Grade 7 but I say all these from experience.
Personally, I wouldn’t travel with a poor in-law to slave away in the fields under the scorching sun, when I can be in my father’s house and be treated like a princess, married or not.
I’m being real here, Aunty Ezar.
First of all, I think women who do not get on with their mothers in-law tend to be the same women who don’t get on with their own mothers. I have heard my grandma say so. Many women will not behave like Naomi for various reasons. Jealousy puts up barriers in relationships. Daughters in-law envy the relationship between their husband and their mothers and vice-versa. And I get confused when some mothers want their sons to be looked after exactly like they do it. It is impossible, except the daughter in-law is cloned from her mother in-law, right?
And mothers should learn to give up mothering their sons after marriage. It reduces jealousy.
It’s worth reminding oneself that your mother in-law can be a blessing, and is really worth putting in some work to improve your relationship. My grandma is a real source of support to my mother. If Ruth or Naomi had alienated each other unnecessarily, I’m not sure we would be reading their story with such joy and hope.
I think some women in Nigeria can be compared to Ruth. Ruth was loyal and steadfastly minded. She believed she was already fully owned by Naomi even after the demise of her husband. I think this is a very good thing.
I’m sure she had friends and family members who advised her wrongly but she made up her mind to follow Naomi. It is important that Nigerian ladies refuse to listen to their friends about their opinions over their mother in-law. Trust God to give you the best.
You have read all they wrote. I am sure we learnt a thing or two from my adorable children. Please write down the name of the student you think gave the best point. They winner goes home with a cash price on Friday. Voting closes by 12noon on Friday.