Dear Christ Followers,
One of the first things I remember from Seminary in my Introduction to Pastoral Ministry class was this, "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." What a loaded statement.
For the average pastor in America he or she is responsible for on average 112 people. This could be a senior pastor, or a staff pastor. Those are the numbers. There is no getting around them.
I state the above only to let you know how thankful I am to each of you for making my pastoral life so much easier because of your loyalty to Christ and then to one another. You take on one another's burdens like they are your own!
In our study of Ruth on Sunday mornings, we are seeing what real loyalty should look like. It is sacrificial, it is long-term, it is selfless. One person (a pastor) certainly can't take on all the unique needs of a congregation, but when congregation shows such great loyalty to others the task become doable.
In Ruth 1:16, there is a pledge made from one to another. It is not just a half-hearted commitment, it is a full-throated promise from Ruth to Naomi. This promise is not one made with any degree of uncertainty, or with an expiration date, but rather a pledge for a lifetime.
In verse 17, Ruth puts herself in the "Divine Crosshairs" with her proclamation that if she doesn't stay loyal, she will take what God might send her way. She declares that the only thing that will allow her to terminate her deal with Naomi, is her own termination.
Varying circumstances can make fulfilling a promise of loyalty difficult. However, when that loyalty is fulfilled it creates a most fulfilling life for both parties!
Each of you should be aware of this: You fulfill the pastoral adage, "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care" with flying colors. Thank you all for being ministers of care, concern and compassion!
In His Grace,