by David Sisler

You would never have known Eric and Jim were brothers. Eric was tall, dark and handsome. Jim was not. In a contest of physical beauty, Eric would have won first prize. Jim would not have been allowed to enter the contest. Eric married the most beautiful girl in town. Jim's wife was as ordinary as himself.

On the outside the two couples were very different. On the inside they were very much alike. Good families. Solid values. Loving parents.

Their children grew up and had families of their own. Then Eric died of a heart attack and Jim's wife was killed in a car crash.

After the two deaths, Jim started going to his sister-in-law's house for company. They would have supper together and sing old hymns while doing the dishes. They took walks, worked in her garden, and talked for hours.

They didn't say anything about their feelings for each other, but one evening they looked at each other and their eyes spoke what words left unsaid.

Their first concern was, "What will our children think?" But understanding their loneliness without each other and the commitment they had already made to each other in their hearts, they decided to elope.

What they did not know was, the children had already guessed what was happening and were thrilled. With undercover work rivaling any espionage novel, the children and grandchildren found out where the wedding was to be held and when the happy couple-to-be appeared, the family members jumped out of hiding places and shouted, "Surprise! Surprise!"

After minutes of hugging and laughing and loving, order was restored and the minister pronounced them husband and wife.

There is a story from God's Word about the union of two families, perhaps not as unusual, but with commitment just as certain.

Elimelech's family was hungry. There was a famine in Israel. There was food in Moab. Now the Israelites and the Moabites were devoted enemies, but when your boys and your wife are hungry, you put national prejudice aside and go where the provisions are. So Elimelech took his wife, Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, and moved to Moab.

In the course of time, the boys grew up and married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. In the course of time, Elimelech, Mahlon, and Chilion died. Deprived of her family, Naomi said, "I am going home to Israel." Her daughters-in-law started out with her, but Naomi set them free from their obligations and told them to return to their homeland. Orpah went back. Ruth stayed.

Ruth made a pledge of commitment. She offered no conditions. Ruth said to Naomi, "Direction does not matter. I am going with you. If we live in a palace or hovel, it does not matter. I am going with you. I will serve the idols of my youth no longer. The God that I have watched you serve will be the God that I now serve. And when I die, I will be buried as a member of your family, not mine."

One day Jesus was ministering to an enthusiastic crowd. One man was so caught up in what was happening that he said to Jesus, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."

Jesus said, "The foxes have holes, the birds have nests, but I do not even have a pillow for my head. Do you still want to follow me?" And the man stepped back into the crowd.

Jesus is not looking for commitments that change. He is not looking for decisions that change when difficulties arise or when the going gets rough. He wants us to follow Him with no conditions, in the same spirit as Ruth. We may not know where He will lead, but He expects us to follow Him in complete trust.

Everyone who has ever echoed Ruth, and said "I go where you go," has found Jesus can be trusted. You've trusted everything else. Isn't it time you put your trust in Jesus?


Published in the Augusta Chronicle 7/9/94

Copyright 1994 by David Sisler

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