READ : Ruth 4:1-10
Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance. (v. 10)
Naomi possessed land through her husband Elimelech, which under Jewish law she was not authorized to sell. She was allowed, however, to assign someone else to use the land. But Boaz intervened, requesting to buy back the land in accordance with the law. If the next-of-kin refused the land, Boaz was willing to redeem the property. However, along with the cost for possession of the land, the kinsman–redeemer was also legally obligated to marry Ruth the Moabitess and raise heirs in the name of Ruth's deceased husband. In this way, Elimelech's family name would remain with his property.
But this social cost was too great a risk for the closest next-of-kin, who did not want to complicate his inheritance for his own family. Unwilling to commit to raising heirs in memory of Elimelech, the man missed his opportunity to have his own name remembered forever.
Like that unnamed relative, we too can miss opportunities to play a significant role in God's plan because we are too concerned for ourselves. In our self-centeredness we also unknowingly sacrifice great treasures. When we die, only one thing will matter—to hear the Savior repeat these welcome words: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Gracious God, help us bring honor to others and glory to you. Amen.