ODJ: A Good Name

January 12, 2017 

READ: Ruth 3:1-18 

Being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold (Proverbs 22:1).

When we considered remodeling our basement, our neighbors all recommended the same person for the job—Tony. He’s an experienced carpenter who shows up every day, delivers more than he promises, and finishes what he starts. People trust this handyman enough to give him their house keys and many let him keep the keys after he finishes the job. When they have a home repair project, they simply contact Tony and he comes over, lets himself in, and goes to work.

Ruth also enjoyed an excellent reputation in Bethlehem. Born in Moab, she followed her mother-in-law, Naomi, to Israel after both of their husbands died. There she met Boaz, a well-connected landowner who valued her character. When he proposed marriage, he said, “Everyone in town knows you are a virtuous woman” (Ruth 3:11).

Ruth’s virtue was due partly to her work ethic. She diligently foraged local fields for leftover grain to provide for herself and Naomi. A foreman noticed that Ruth remained “hard at work . . . except for a few minutes’ rest in the shelter” (2:7). When the barley harvest ended, Ruth continued to work by gleaning wheat in early summer (v.23).

Ruth’s character was revealed in her humility, obedience, and respect for her mother-in-law. Instead of looking for a husband her own age, she allowed Naomi to choose for her (3:3-5). She let Boaz know she was available for marriage, and Boaz carefully protected Ruth’s reputation in the way he responded (vv.9,14).

Proverbs 22:1 says, “Being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.” May God work in and through us to produce a character and reputation that honors Him and reflects this beautiful name: Jesus.

—Jennifer Benson Schuldt

365-day plan: Genesis 21:8-21

Read 1 Peter 2:12 to see one possible outcome of having a good name on earth. Look up Hebrews 11:39 to see what produces a good reputation in God’s eyes. 
Is it possible to have a good standing in the world while disappointing God? Why or why not? When you consider your reputation, what might you change to better reflect Jesus to others?