So both of them went along until they arrived at Bethlehem. When they arrived at Bethlehem, the whole town was excited on account of them, and the women of the town asked, “Can this be Naomi?”
She replied to them, “Don’t call me Naomi, but call me Mara, for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has returned me empty. Why would you call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has deemed me guilty?”
Thus Naomi returned. And Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, returned with her from the territory of Moab. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest. -Ruth 1:19-22
Naomi and Ruth travel back to Naomi’s hometown after the deaths of three beloved men in their family. Ruth has promised to travel with Naomi and stick by her. Yet when they arrive at their destination, Naomi is so overcome with grief she says this: “I went away (from here) full, but the Lord has returned me (to here) empty.” As I reader, I can imagine Ruth standing there while Naomi says, “I’ve got nothin and nobody.” I wonder if she thought to herself, “What am I, chopped liver?!?”
Ruth is the only big blessing Naomi has going for her in that moment, but Naomi can’t see it. She is too overwhelmed by grief to notice the precious, trustworthy gift of Ruth. Can you relate, to either Naomi or Ruth? Have you been overlooking a great blessing in your life because you too are overwhelmed by something? Or have you been the one overlooked, just keeping on keeping on caring for someone who hasn’t noticed your worth yet?
I remember that Jesus is often characterized with the words of Isaiah 53:3: “We esteemed him not.” What a friend we have in Jesus, when we overlook him, still he sticks by us in joy and sorrow, sin and victory.
When I think I have nothing, O God, forgive me for not remembering that I have you! You are worthy of notice and attention, praise and thanksgiving. Help me to see the blessings all around me today, whatever my circumstances.
Notice someone whom you normally do not notice today. It may be a custodian at work, or a person at a bus stop, or even, your own family member with whom you share a home. Take time to look him or her in the eye, and pray a prayer of gratitude for him or her.
For prayer tonight around the dinner table, or at bedtime, look each other in the eyes when you are praying. Be sure to give thanks for one another.