5 Insights for Singles from the Book of Ruth

As a Christian woman, trained as a home economist, I never expected to be single past my mid-twenties.

However, the Lord had a much different plan for me and has gently matured my attitude toward singleness, as well as the purpose of marriage. I now know that I should marry only if our united lives would be more effective for the Lord than either of us are in our single state.

Do we focus on completing our assigned tasks with excellence, listen to godly counsel, and then allow our heavenly Father to work out the details?

Surprisingly, my greatest challenge in experiencing contentment in my single state is members of the Body of Christ who cannot understand how someone who can cook and sew, as well as implement effective management and financial skills, is not married. Their insistence that "Mr. Right" will one day come along discounts the possibility that it is the Lord's will for me to minister to others as a single, using my spiritual gifts, talents, and educational background.

A consistent encouragement to me is the report that Boaz had of Ruth, who was providing for her mother-in-law by gleaning in his field, in Ruth 3:11. He observed her behavior from a distance and formed conclusions about her character. Should the Lord have marriage as a part of His plan for me in the future, I would want that man to give the same report of me, "All my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence."

This focus reminds me that Ruth "gleaned" where the Lord placed her.

Her life—especially her faithfulness in hard circumstances—provides me with guidelines that help me glean daily in the field to which I am assigned. May I share them with you?

  • Ruth was faithful to the commitment she made to Naomi (Ruth 1:16–18).
    Since there is no evidence that Naomi worked, Ruth willingly supported herself and her mother-in-law. As we glean are we as steadfast to go beyond the minimum work required of us?
  • Ruth's work ethic was evident to all (Ruth 3:11).
    Does the quality of our work reflect our heavenly heritage (Matt. 5:16)?
  • Ruth chose contentment in her circumstances.
    There is no evidence that she complained about her work load, the weather, her peers, or her home conditions (Ruth 2:17–18). Are we content where the Lord has chosen for us to glean? Philippians 4:11 reminds us that contentment is an acquired character trait rather than a natural inclination.
  • Ruth listened to Naomi's counsel and fulfilled all that she was physically able to do with excellence.
    She then had the responsibility to wait for God to intervene (Ruth 3). Do we focus on completing our assigned tasks with excellence, listen to godly counsel, and then allow our heavenly Father to work out the details (Rom. 8:28)?
  • Ruth's rewards were earthly as well as spiritual (Ruth 4).
    She is listed in the genealogy of Jesus (Matt. 1:5), became the great-grandmother of King David, and has a book of the Bible named for her. Will our gleaning generate earthly and eternal rewards (Matt. 25:21; Luke 19:17)?

Where are you gleaning right now? Does everyone there view you as a woman of excellence who trusts in the Lord (Phil. 4:13)?

Did you discover God’s Truth today?

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About the Author

Pat Ennis

Pat Ennis

Pat Ennis taught Home Economics for the San Diego Unified School District while developing the Home Economics Department at Christian Heritage College (now San Diego Christian College). She moved to The Master’s College in 1987 to establish the Home Economics-Family and Consumer Science Department and then relocated to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2011 to assume the position of Distinguished Professor and Director of Homemaking Programs. She is the author of several books.

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