November 11, 2017

Devotion: An Enduring Strength

By
Susan Bullard

By Susan Bullard

One of the best definitions I’ve ever heard for the meaning of character is this: Character is “who you are when no one is looking.” Some people’s character may be considered strong and others incredibly weak but we all have a measure of it. It’s those quality traits within a single person that initiate discipline, vision, endurance, respectfulness, mercy, and etc. Although character traits are revealed to self and unto others by one’s display of certain qualities, it’s not merited upon any kind of accomplishment nor is calculated upon how others perceive you. Our character is the essence that makes up the one unique you. No two of us are alike.

An encouraging point about the men and women of the Bible is the transparency provided about their shortcomings and the victories throughout their lives that reveal the real strength/test of their enduring characters.

I have chosen to take a woman from Scripture that encourages us to become courageous while still possessing a dignified, modest demeanor. It appears to me as “devotion.”

Ruth was devoted to Naomi. Even in the midst of her own grief over the death of her husband, she desired to serve her mother-in- law and compassionately care for Naomi’s needs. (Ruth 1: 16-17). In the opening verses of chapter two, it is Ruth who takes the initiative to gather the leftovers in the neighboring field of a relative by the name of Boaz upon their arrival to Bethlehem. Ruth was a Moabite woman yet seemed formerly well versed in the mosaic laws and knew she might have success in this simple gleaning endeavor. (Deu. 24:17-19). Just by reading between the lines, one can see the type of woman/wife she was in earlier happier times; studious, hardworking, with humility much like that of the model Proverbs 31 woman. I see her as prepared for this. Each day was lived by faith and aspects of her character were already well equipped to take on the next few steps to further develop these traits even more. The word definitely got around about her. Ruth’s life was on display daily for others to marvel over her embrace of their Jewish culture and lifestyle. She may have appeared rebuking to some, but all were very impressed by this foreigner. (Ruth 2:11-12).

Finally, she was obedient with a specific request from Naomi to ask of Boaz to honor further tradition to extend redemption per the “kinsman redeemer law” of Lev. 25:25 -27 to restore the family name and land/s and/or possessions of the extended family member/s. Although not the norm, but in truth, Ruth did propose to Boaz by reminding him of this obligation that began the procession of events to finalize their union as man and wife. (Ruth 3: 9-11). Now, that certainly took some real courage. Little did she know that one day she would be found in the lineage of the coming Messiah, and her life would still be making such an impact on us even to this present day!

I have learned that the hardest part of cultivating any one of these quality traits involves the testing and trial of them throughout life. Devotion is a long-suffering endeavor that’s worth all of our efforts to pursue. It’s such an enduring strength that reveals both the softness and toughness of its character trait. There have been folks that I have considered to possess certain qualities that I longed to emulate in my own life. Some of them are deceased loved ones while others were long ago mentors, and now, a few present friends; however, instead of trying to copy their words or behavior, I end up trying to make the “trait” I admire my own. They’re still influential to me and dear to my heart, and so, I ponder the caliber of their characters. (Phil 4:8.)

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By
Susan Bullard

One of the best definitions I’ve ever heard for the meaning of character is this: Character is “who you are when no one is looking.” Some people’s character may be considered strong and others incredibly weak but we all have a measure of it. It’s those quality traits within a single person that initiate discipline, vision, endurance, respectfulness, mercy, and etc. Although character traits are revealed to self and unto others by one’s display of certain qualities, it’s not merited upon any kind of accomplishment nor is calculated upon how others perceive you. Our character is the essence that makes up the one unique you. No two of us are alike.

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