Is this the kind of “love story” you want? Falling in love, getting your heart broken and then repeating that same process all over again with someone else. Maybe this is the only “love story” you have heard of because you haven’t learned to count the cost. In my blog titled Love Doesn’t Hurt. Loving the Wrong Person Does (Read blog here). I write about heartbreak and how choosing the wrong person to invest our love in can lead to a devastating hurt.
Although love doesn’t hurt, love creates an atmosphere for potential rejection, heartbreak and/or a messy relationship. This is why counting the cost between the person you are interested in and the guarding of your heart is extremely important.
Before you think about getting into a relationship, you must first ask yourself, “Is this guy or girl worth the risk of me being rejected or getting my heart broken?” Often times, this question is hardly asked and the lack of asking it can result in regret.
Today, I want to share a love story I admire and look up to. It can be found in the book of Ruth in the Bible (Ruth 2-4). I highly encourage you to read it for yourself and allow God to speak to you. Before Ruth and Boaz agreed to marry and take their relationship to that next level of commitment, they counted the cost. Their love story is a reflection of what counting the cost looks like.
Their friendship began in a harvest field when Ruth decided to go out and gather grain among the harvesters. She had no intention to fall in love or even risk her heart for a man who would later become her husband. Her primary intention was to pick up grain in order to provide for her-self, since she was a widowed woman.
Ruth did not go searching for love. Love found her while she was simply living life.
Now Boaz was a wealthy and influential man. He was also a godly and well-respected man. Boaz noticed Ruth and asked his foreman about her and if she belonged to anyone. Boaz could have skipped asking if Ruth was “taken” or “married,” and instead of asking his foreman about her, he could’ve done things on his own rather than being wise and guided by God.
Truth is, we are attracted by those we find attractive. But if they or you are in a relationship, the wise thing to do is admire their beauty and walk away.
After listening to his foreman speak so highly of Ruth, Boaz approaches Ruth and begins to show interest in her. He invites her to stay in his field as a way of protecting her from other men in other fields. Being a foreigner, Ruth was a potential victim for malice.
Instead of taking advantage of Ruth’s vulnerability, Boaz protected her heart.
Ruth 2:10-14 quotes Ruth and Boaz having a dialogue that I refer to as romantic. Ruth didn’t feel worthy of being treated kindly because she was a foreigner. She came from a different background.
Despite her differences, Boaz was attracted to Ruth’s qualities. Ruth was brave, kind, genuine, and selfless. She remained loyal to her mother-in-law Naomi, who was also widowed.
Boaz blesses Ruth for all she’s endured and accomplished, and encourages her to continue seeking God for refuge.
An encouraging partner who prays with you and for you; someone who will lead you closer to Jesus and not to him or herself is worth the risk.
Ruth realized Boaz could be trusted after he proved himself worthy. He comforted her and was kind to her; as a result, Ruth felt comfortable being around Boaz. Likewise, Boaz felt comfortable showing more interest in Ruth, and he also favored her (Ruth 2:15-16).
If you don’t feel comfortable talking or being around a person, please be wise and set boundaries between that person and yourself.
At this point in their love story, Ruth and Boaz are still counting the cost before risking their hearts for the potential of rejection or heartbreak. Later, Ruth went home to her mother-in-law Naomi and told her everything she had experienced. Ruth spoke highly of Boaz to Naomi (Ruth 2:19).
Naomi listened attentively and informed Ruth that Boaz was one of their family redeemers- a close relative (Ruth 2:20). Back then; a family redeemer was a relative who volunteered to take responsibility for the extended family. When a woman’s husband died, the law (Deuteronomy 25:5-10) provided that she could marry a brother of her dead husband. But Naomi had no more sons. In such a case, the nearest relative to the deceased husband could become a family redeemer and marry the widow.
Naomi was more than just a mother-in-law to Ruth. She was Ruth’s friend and mentor. Ruth shared her experiences with her and Naomi advised her in return. We all need accountability in our lives. The wisdom of others is one of the many ways God guides us and protects us. Sometimes, love can blind us from the red flags waving intensely before us.
“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding” (Proverbs 3:13).
I highly encourage you to seek wisdom from those God has placed in your life. Learn to value accountability and make it a priority in your life.
As time progressed, Naomi tells Ruth it’s time for her to find a permanent home so she could be provided for. She encourages Ruth to go to the threshing floor where Boaz would be working. Ruth had counted the cost and she believed Boaz was worth the risk of heartbreak and rejection. When Ruth arrived, Boaz was laying down asleep. She uncovers his feet to lie down beside them. Boaz wakes up and notices a woman lying at his feet! “Who are you?” he asked.
“I am your servant Ruth,” she replied. “Spread the corner of your covering over me, for you are my family redeemer.” (Ruth 3:1-9)
OMG! Did Ruth just do that? She officially risked her heart for the potential of rejection.
By doing this, Ruth was informing Boaz that he could be her family redeemer-that he could find someone to marry her or marry her himself. Can you imagine a woman asking a man to marry her? I don’t doubt some women have! I hope they counted the cost before putting themselves out there. Boaz was impressed by Ruth’s act of courage; he was amazed by her family loyalty. As a result, Boaz agreed he would find someone to marry her or he would marry her himself.
There was a man who was more closely related to Ruth than Boaz. Being a man of integrity, Boaz asked his relative if he wished to redeem the land that belonged to Ruth’s deceased husband. While negotiating the land, Boaz was risking his heart for Ruth. The relative decides he does not want to redeem it. Boaz was relieved! (Ruth 4:1-10)
At last, Ruth and Boaz had counted the cost and endured the risks of rejection and heartbreak. If Ruth didn’t feel Boaz was worth the risk, she would have never gone out of her way to let this man know how much she desired for him to redeem her family name to the point where she was literally asking him to marry her! She knew who Boaz was by his actions and not simply his words. All this made the risk worth it.
If Boaz didn’t feel Ruth was worth the risk, he would have never gone out of his way to please her and favor her. He constantly showed interest in her by speaking words of affirmation. Boaz knew Ruth was committed and respectful. All these qualities Ruth possessed made the risk worth it for Boaz.
Finally, Ruth and Boaz are married. They respected each other while counting the cost and risking their hearts, and waited for the appropriate time to be intimate with each other-marriage. I don’t know about you, but I find their love story to be beautiful and romantic.
What’s most beautiful to me is how their love story ended, yet at the same time started. The marriage of Ruth and Boaz was God ordained. It simply took Ruth and Boaz to risk their hearts for someone they believed was worthy, while trusting God would guide them in their choices.
God honored the marriage and lives of Ruth and Boaz, as they are part of Jesus’ family lineage- our family redeemer (Ruth 4:17). When we allow God to write our love story, we can expect great things to follow after we say, “I do.” He orchestrates our love story with a glorifying purpose in mind- to work together as a team and point others to Jesus.
Wouldn’t you want God to ordain your marriage? I’m sure He desires to be the author of your love story, just like He was for Ruth’s and Boaz’s. Will you hand Him the pen?
My prayer is that you would reflect on this love story time and time again. Let this story be a guide to how you hope your love story would be- God at the center of it all. When you read the love story of Ruth and Boaz, I encourage you to pay close attention to each of their characteristics, attributes, and qualities. Consider making a list for the person for whom you are counting the costs of love. A few of the characteristics Ruth and Boaz possessed are listed below:
- Hard Working