Following God

When you decide to follow God it is an all or nothing decision, there is no such things as getting half on a plane to go somewhere, or half of you gets in the car to go somewhere – you are either all in or all out, you are either hot or cold, the Lord doesn’t want anything else.

Ruth was a Moabite woman who left her country, her family, and everything she had in order to be a blessing to her mother in law, a Jewish woman whose name was Naomi. It says in the Book of Ruth:

“But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. 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 I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me” (Ruth chapter 1).

And that is how it is with us as Christians. We are now in the family of God, the kingdom of God, and we say to Jesus “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”

 

Giving yourself to the Lord

Ruth and her mother in law Naomi were both widows and poor and without a job. Boaz was a kind man who helped Ruth. He said to Ruth:

“I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge” – Ruth chapter 2.

And so it is with the Lord: God Himself will provide for you in wonderful ways that your clan or family will not or cannot do.

 

Gather in the harvest

Now, as a Christian, a Somali Christian, you are bound to the Lord, to follow Him and serve Him all the days of the life.

“You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield.”

“He who gives to the poor lends to the Lord.”

There is a greater vision for you than what you see before you. Ruth was allowed to harvest and gather grain in Boaz’s field. She eventually married Boaz and had children. But at one point in time she was a young widow with no place to live, nowhere to work, no food and no money. And God provided for her.

And so we, who minister to the Somalis, who pray for them, share the gospel with them, and serve them are working in one of the Lord’s fields. And we will: “gather barley there all day”; only our barely is the souls of people; Jesus called this kind of fruit eternal fruit.

Jesus said:

“The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike!”

 

Serving the Lord

And just as Ruth came to Boaz and asked him to save her and protect her, so we too are to seek the Lord and draw close to Him, as the Bible says: “Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world” (James 4:8)

Ruth was loyal to God and had left the world behind – so should we. We are in the Lord but not of the world. Here is what Ruth did to Boaz to draw close to him to request his protection and safety:

“Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!

“Who are you?” he asked.

“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.”

“The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask” – Ruth chapter 3.

 

Getting baptized

Baptism is a big deal in the Christian life. It is a time when you declare publicly, at least to God and the person baptizing you, that you are now ready to leave the world behind and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the same way, when Boaz bought the land and decided he was going to marry Ruth he made a public declaration to the men and other who were standing outside:

“Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!”

In the same way, you as a Somali Christian are required by Jesus Christ, to take that step of faith and be baptized and declare you love and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. You need to make it public, where and when and how is up to you and the Lord – but this is a step as an obedient Christian you are to take.

 

Leave it all behind and let it be

So be like Lot who left Sodom and Gomorrah and never looked back; his wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. Be like Caleb and Joshua who left Egypt, crossed the desert, and were ready to take the land away from the Canaanites. Be like Moses who left all the riches of Egypt behind and served the Lord while living in a tent. Be like the disciples who left everything behind to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

As it is written:

“The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”

Then Peter said to him, “We’ve given up everything to follow you. What will we get?”

Jesus replied, “I assure you that when the world is made new[i] and the Son of Man[j] sits upon his glorious throne, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”