Sunday School Material: Acceptance in Community

(Ruth 2:5-12; 3:9-11; 3/28/10)

Introduction: A key idea in today's Sunday School material is God made a way for Ruth's well being. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to trust God's provision for us and His using us to provide for others.

Body:
Read Ruth 2:5-12
I. Ruth Accepted as a Person.
We see in this section of the Sunday School material that Boaz, a rich man, took notice of Ruth. Ruth was working in Boaz's field.

Boaz made provisions for her safety and well-being. Boaz saw himself as a means of God paying Ruth back for her kindness towards Naomi, her mother-in-law.

Applications –
- Team work.
Notice in vss. 5 and 9 of the Sunday School material that the servant of Boaz knew what was going on in his area of responsibility and other servants carried out instructions given by his master.

In order for the church to be all that God is calling it to be, there is a need for ministry managers to know what is going on in their ministry groups and for disciples to carryout instructions given by the Pastor's designee.

As in the text, the blessings that people stand in need of and God's plans may depend upon everyone doing their part on the church team. This concept is true also in family, on our jobs, and in our community.

Any type of house divided against itself falls. But where there is unity and committed action towards common goals there is strength. Let's work on doing our part in carrying out our responsibilities on the teams that we serve on.

- Work ethic and recuperation. We see in vs. 7 of this section of the Sunday School material that Ruth had a willingness to work and the Jewish political system had a way of providing for the poor.

There are too many who lack adequate work ethic or willingness to work. Too many people want a handout, instead of a job or business opportunity.

In our country, it can be very difficult to get back on your feet, or recuperate, after you have experienced great financial hardships like foreclosure, bankruptcy, the death of the major breadwinner, or trying to put one's life back together after serving time for a felony.

It is even worst in many other countries. Let's work on having a healthy willingness to work and advocating for ways for people to be able to get back on their feet. For example, working for an allowance is better than just giving away money to a child.

Advocating for our city to give ex-felons an opportunity to compete for jobs they are qualified for is a step in the right direction.

- The wings of God. Notice in vss. 11-12 how God provided wings of protection for Ruth. God used a wealthy older man with compassion to take care of Ruth.

First, we never know how God is going to provide wings of protection for us. However, since He often uses people, it seems prudent that we treat people right.

Second, we should not allow our wealth to make us insensitive towards those who are less fortunate than we are. Too whom much is given much is required.

Let's work on both trusting God to provide for us and allowing God to use us to provide for others.

Read Ruth 3:9-11
II. Ruth Accepted as a Wife. Ruth came to make herself available as the wife of Boaz. Spreading the skirt seems to be a symbol of both protection and marriage.

Boaz responded with a mind to make Ruth his wife. He comments on how God is involved in the exchange.

Applications –
- Faith based works.
Notice in vs. 9 of the Sunday School material that Ruth had faith based works. It seems that she believed that God would make a way somehow.

However, she also understood that she could not simply sit back and wait for God to perform a miracle. She appears to have some concept of faith without works being dead.

There are too many who have either faith or works. They claim to believe God, but they don't have enough belief to obey His will. Or they simply strive to do their own thing, without any reliance on God.

Let's strive to exercise faith based works like Ruth. This means we need to prayerful study God's word, seek wise counsel, and strive to do God's will, with confidence that God will take care of His own.

- The sacredness of marriage. In the Sunday School material notice in vss. 9-11 that the goal was marriage, not just living together. There are too many who take advantage of the weak. They fund a bed and bread relationship without marital commitment.

And there are too many weak who say to themselves, "This is the best that I can do." Let's work on trusting God enough to keep marriage sacred and the only place of sex. No matter how much money you have or how poor you are, sex outside of marriage is wrong.

Conclusion: Let's work on trusting God to provide for us and using us to provide for others. God has much for those who obey His will.

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