Have you ever met someone you would consider truly extraordinary? If you look through the scriptures and really study those people we talk about in church as being extraordinary men and women of God, you’ll discover the secret wasn’t so much what they did, but how they did it.
Ruth was a mighty woman of God and blessed to have Christ come through her family line. She didn’t have the easiest of circumstances. She married a man and left her family to live with his. His father died and so did her husband and brother-in-law leaving her, her sister-in-law, Orpah, and her mother-in-law, Naomi, to fend for themselves. Her mother-in-law told both girls to go back to their families, but Ruth refused. She chose to put her mother-in-law ahead of herself and stand by her, looking out for her needs [Ruth 1-4]. God didn’t just pave the street with gold because of Ruth’s selfless act. There were still hard times ahead, however, ultimately, she was blessed for her faithfulness to Him and to her mother-in-law, Naomi.
Joseph loved his family, but his brothers despised him. They sold him off into slavery and he was taken to Egypt [Genesis 37:23-28]. He served his master faithfully and that got him thrown into prison [Genesis 39:20]. While in prison, he helped others and when they got out of prison, they forgot about him [Genesis 40:23]. God, however, never forgot about him or the way he persevered through trials and trouble. Not only was Joseph released from prison, he was placed second in command of all of Egypt and was reunited with his family and able to provide for their needs [Genesis 45:5-7]. God blessed him abundantly, but not without allowing him to go through things.
We read those stories, but we don’t acknowledge what made Joseph and Ruth and many others so extraordinary wasn’t what they did, but how they did it. They dealt with life and the hardships it brings by fixing their eyes on the Lord and putting others ahead of themselves in all things.
This past week, I spent spring break at the Lighthouse Family Retreat. My daughter and I had the opportunity to serve one of the extraordinary people of today and her daughters. My precious friend, Laura, (who will kill me after she reads this today) is a single mom and a teacher. If that were not enough, one of her daughters has a cancerous brain tumor which causes seizures. Her daughter requires constant supervision because you never know when a seizure will strike. Her older daughter is a competitive gymnast and a teenager (enough said). Laura also helps her mother take care of her elderly father who is dealing with the beginning stages of dementia. The thing that makes Laura so extraordinary is if you comment on how amazing she is, she will tell you she’s “just doing life.” Just like Ruth and Joseph, Laura faces daily trials and troubles, but she keeps her eyes fixed on Jesus and she puts others ahead of herself. She challenges me to be a better person just by the way she lives her life day to day.
Take a minute and think of those who live life around you. Make a list of those who you would define as extraordinary and take time to let them know how they bless you and how they push you to live life differently.
Today, I thank God for my friend, Laura, and for all of the Ruth’s and Joseph’s in my life like her who spur me to be a better person. Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Make it your aim today to be a sharpening iron for another.