I was reading the first chapter of Ruth when I noticed Ruth’s declaration to her mother-in-law Naomi. Naomi had moved to the land of Moab with her husband and two sons when a famine hit the land of Judah. While in Moab, Naomi’s husband died and her sons married Moabite women. After 10 years passed, both of Naomi’s sons died and Naomi decided to head back home to Judah. Both her daughter-in-laws started toward Judah with her, but Naomi told them to return to their own households since she could not provide for them. While one daughter-in-law turned back, Ruth refused. Here is what she said to Naomi:
“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”
I looked at that and realized, “That is loyalty!” I started thinking about some of the things that cause loyalty:
Relationship: Naomi shared a special relationship with Ruth. I’m sure that she treated her like a daughter. (That is shown through the rest of the story.) When we treat people the right way, it opens up doors of loyalty.
Example: I know that Ruth had seen her mother-in-law in action personally as she weathered the different “storms” that assaulted her life. Seeing how she responded made a difference to Ruth. She may have desired some of the same traits in her life that Naomi displayed. When we show we are trustworthy people or organizations, we gain the loyalty of others.
Adventure: Ruth could have stayed in Moab, but she had already experienced Moab. She wanted something new (even though it would have been scary) and she headed for a new adventure in Judah with Naomi. Some of the best things we can offer our partners is the chance to do something bigger than they could ever do on their own. I believe that offering adventure can bring loyal followers to our team.
I appreciate loyalty from people. I also want to make sure that Ignite continues to provide people with reasons to be loyal. With this in mind, I want us to grow stronger relationships, exhibit faith-filled behaviour that looks forward, while offering partnership in the exciting adventure of church planting.