Woman, you cannot be committed to thinking of the well being of others and remain small. That is why ministry is not so much of the popularity you can get out of it but your desire and dedication to serve people and glorify God.
It is a fundamental fact of life that every tree begins as a seed! As a matter of fact, in one of the parables of Christ, He likens the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed which indeed is the least of all seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.
By Pastor Taiwo Odukoya
It is a fundamental fact of life that every tree begins as a seed! As a matter of fact, in one of the parables of Christ, He likens the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed which indeed is the least of all seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches. [Matthew 13:31-32]. The essence of this parable and principle is that every greatness in life begins with a seed: great personalities, great lives, great businesses, great nations all have their achievements rooted in small beginnings! Though your beginning was small, your end will be exceedingly great. But how does this work? According to s the Preacher writes in Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.”
Attesting to this, David Ingles, a popular faith preacher and song writer wrote in the lyrics of his popular song:
“It’s in your hands, you hold a miracle
Though not much to you, you just turn it to Him (Jesus)
And He’ll take what you give to Him
And He’ll make it what you ought to be
A miracle is in your hands”
Ministry is not limited to mere preaching, teaching of scriptures; it is rather in the little things we do in life for others. It could be entrepreneurship, mentoring others to become experts in their fields of endeavour, leadership or governance. The field is vast and as you continue to court His Presence, God will open your eyes to green fields that are yet to be explored. God is at liberty to use whatever you do to accomplish His aim and more often than not, that is His pattern. It does not matter whether you are a professional at the height of your career or you are just a housewife taking care of your home and nurturing your kids, you can make the difference. Just you! The journey that took Deborah to the war front and made her a Judge in Israel began from her counseling sessions under the palm tree!
Women will begin to occupy positions that many thought were only meant for men. Do not to deny yourself when the opportunity comes your way. You are qualified and good enough, that is why God will push you to the forefront. There is something about you that the world is waiting for. Do not give room for intimidation; it is not about gender but what you carry. Women are holding key positions in the nations of the world today. South Korea, Liberia, Philippines, and Indonesia are all nations having women as their heads of states and that is the highest position you can occupy in any nation. Today Hilary Clinton is running for the presidency of the United States and may be on her way to occupying the Oval Office!
You may be pushing for some key positions in politics, be encouraged. We have seen women in high-level positions across the country but that is not satisfactory yet. We are looking forward to the day a woman will be the President of Nigeria. If it happened in Liberia and other parts of the world then it is not impossible in our nation. The aim of TWL is to lay the foundation of a future revolution!
The challenge of the Nigerian nation and indeed many nations of the world is the fact that very few people are thinking for everybody and even the few that should think for everybody are thinking for themselves. When you begin to think for other people, the tendency is for you to think you will lose out. But I have come to realize that it does not matter if nobody thinks for you. The God who called does!
And the fastest way to becoming great is to keep thinking of people to do things for. Forget about yourself. In all past the years that you have thought about yourself alone, what have you achieved? Achievers will tell you their greatness came as a result of what they did for others. They are community thinkers. Abraham Lincoln, perhaps the most respected American President is quoted as saying to “stop thinking of what your nation can do for you but what you can do for your nation”. Directions, purpose to life and fulfillment are often found in serving others.
Ruth was a Moabite woman. And that in itself is detrimental because according to scripture, the Moabites were a cursed race. They had their ancestry in the incestuous relationship between Lot and his two daughters. And God cursed their race, forbidding them from coming into the congregation of the children of Israel until the tenth generation! The Moabites were an ostracized race.
Then, there was a sore famine in Israel and Elimelech a Jew from the tribe of Bethlehem, in a bid to save his family from the drought escaped to the land of Moab with his wife Naomi and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion. No sooner did they arrive in Moab that Elimelech died. In no time, Elimelech’s sons married Orpah and Ruth, both Moabite women and lived in Moab for ten years but Mahlon and Chilion also died leaving Naomi with their wives to mourn them. The situation was worse for these three women because neither man left any children to carry on the family name.
In her predicament, Naomi made a decision to return to Judah because news reached her that the famine had abated and the situation in her home country had improved. Unwilling to submerge the lives of her daughters-in-law in her loss, she prayed for them and encouraged them to return to their people. Naomi was prepared to bear her loss alone. She was selfless enough to accept that Orpah and Ruth still had a chance to redeem their lives and was not going to stop them from getting a chance to remarry and start their lives all over again.
While Orpah took the opportunity to return to her people, Ruth clung to her mother-in-law and refused to be parted from her saying:
“Entreat me not to leave you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge: your people shall be my people and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.” [Ruth 1:16-17]
Ruth’s decision was so resolute and uncompromising that I found myself wondering at the tenacity of her commitment, not only to her mother-in-law but to the family of the man to whom she was married.
Now there are three things that characterized the choice Ruth made which gave her significance in history.
Naomi’s situation was bad. In the natural, she had lost it all with no hope for the future. At least that was Naomi’s perception of the misfortune that befell her in the country of Moab, insomuch that she changed her name from Naomi which means “pleasant” to Mara meaning “bitter”, yet despite the nothingness and emptiness of Naomi’s life, Ruth clave unto her, swearing in the process that only death would separate her from her mother-in-law. The depth of her resolve suggests to me that Naomi was a woman of character. There was something Ruth saw in the life of Naomi which in spite of the ‘unpleasant’ situation urged her to go all the way with this ‘pleasant’ woman. Ruth had both foresight and insight. And she must have considered the fact that there was nothing to go back to in her home country anyway! Woman, it takes foresight to forge ahead! She recognized the God of Israel as the One holding the future and if that be the case then her destiny was safe in His hands. Ruth was willing to place her future in those Hands and she was rewarded for her faith.
Again Ruth was very decisive. That was what distinguished her from Orpah. Although there was nothing wrong with Orpah’s decision per se, her decision to return to her people borne out of her inability to discern the future robbed her of the chance to write her name in history as Ruth, her sister-in-law did. Apart from the book of Esther, Ruth is the only book of the Bible named after a woman! Although Ruth was consumed by a burden for her mother-in-law’s welfare, her decision to stick to her against all odds brought her (Ruth) prominence restored Naomi’s family fortunes, brought salvation to the Israelites, and on that singular decision God projected the salvation of the entire human race. Just one woman’s decision!
The second attribute displayed by Ruth is initiative. Initiative can be defined as “readiness to embark on bold new ventures”. Ruth took some steps nobody in her family had ever taken. She left her people and her home country to go to an unknown land, live in the midst of an unknown people and serve an unknown God!
Woman, are you ready to embark on new ventures? Are you prepared to move away from traditions by embracing new ideas? There is nothing wrong in taking bold steps to embark on promising new ventures. You only have to be sure that it is God and not your presumption because then you may have to carry the burden of pioneering alone. But if it is God then with or without people you will succeed.
Amazingly, Ruth was at the lowest ebb of her life at this point in time – childless, widowed and destitute. It is said that “at your lowest position, everything looks blown out of prospect to you and at your highest position, everything looks small”. Now the important thing is our interpretation of our situation. While some allow the enormity of a problem to limit them in life, others look at the same problem and see giant opportunities. I guess this was the case with Ruth. Rather than allowing herself to be overwhelmed by the misfortune that befell her and her husband’s family, she saw the opportunity of becoming a citizen of Israel – the nation blessed of the Lord – and she jumped at it. Every other thing paled in light of this and she was willing to leave them all for God to handle. Unlike her mother-in-law, Ruth did not see bitterness, she saw opportunities!
Ruth was selfless. The only reason she clave to Naomi was her desire to serve and if in any way she could alleviate the sufferings of her elderly mother-in-law who most likely could no longer fend for herself. Even when they arrived at Jerusalem, she went to glean in the fields so Naomi could have sustenance. She was so industrious that all the people noticed her and it was in the place of service that she met Boaz in whom she found a husband and kinsman. What if she did not take the first step to fend for her mother-in-law?
God cannot leave you alone in your times of trial when you are committed to thinking of others.
Ruth’s act of selflessness to her mother-in-law was fully rewarded. Not only did Boaz marry her, this erstwhile childless woman became the mother of a son through whom her once ostracized race became integrated into the nation of Israel. As a matter of fact, Ruth’s son Obed was the grandfather of King David thus Ruth became one of four women mentioned in the lineage of Christ! One moment’s decision planted her on the highway of favour forever. People struggle to have their names written in newspapers but Ruth’s name is written in the Bible, eternally preserved for all humanity to read.
Woman, you are also working on the highway of favour. Will you like Ruth take advantage of it?
Ruth was a woman who got involved in everything around her. She never restricted herself to thinking but followed her thoughts through with positive actions. Hers was a true example of the scripture, “whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might”.
Ruth’s attribute of involvement is not limited to Bible characters. Contemporary women who achieved greatness also towed this path. Mother Teresa, Florence Nightingale, Mary Slessor and many more were examples of women who left all for the service of humanity and the less privileged. They got involved in the sufferings and predicaments of others and sought for ways by which they could alleviate such sufferings and bring a light of hope to those affected. And these women became women of renown. Their acts of selfless involvement brought them fame and endeared them to all.
These were women with insight. Women who took the initiative to make their world better! They started out as unknown but by the end of their lives the whole world celebrated them. Heaven celebrated them. They demonstrated the love of God. They had no money but they had a burden. They had a burning passion that saw them achieving greatness for their generations.
Woman, you cannot be committed to thinking of the well being of others and remain small. That is why ministry is not so much of the popularity you can get out of it but your desire and dedication to serve people and glorify God. When this is your focus, it does not matter who stands in your path, you will come out victorious. You will excel in the Name of Jesus.
Woman, the time is now! You may have messed things up by your previous actions or inaction but there is something you can do now. You can get back on track, so that even if you did not begin your course on the right tracks, you can at least change the way you finish. There is something you can do to change your community, your nation and indeed your generation. YOU can make a difference. Just concentrate on what you are gifted to do and do it very well. One woman can make a difference. One woman’s decision can affect the entire world. Identify your target, remain focused and avoid distractions. By all means that woman can be you!