Character counts

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By Tom Wiles | For The Times-Post

“Yes, I know,” Boaz replied. “But I also know about everything you (Ruth) have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband. I have heard how you left your father and mother and your own land to live here among complete strangers. May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you for what you have done.” — Ruth 1-4

It felt more than a little unfair.

Broke, with a wife and two kids to provide for, the stand-up guy in the movie was finally working steadily only to have the boss offer him a promotion and a sizable raise that came with a catch. He must be willing to fudge the numbers so the company would have a better bottom line.

Nervously, he declined.

At which point, the boss stood up and gave him the job telling him he was looking for someone he knew he could trust.

Character counts.

The story of Ruth is a story of exceptional integrity, love and commitment.

Her story is one that took place during the time when God’s people were doing what was right in their own eyes.

Ruth sacrificed.

She worked hard.

She humbled herself.

She embodied integrity.

Boaz was cut from the same cloth. He was a man who loved the Lord, blessed those who worked for him and sought to do the right thing the right way, even when it carried risk.

Together, they set the stage for a king.

For too many, character is a distant consideration in life.

What’s right is replaced with what’s expedient.

The fact that 99% true is still false is a lost calculation.

Jesus was clear.

The path of life is a narrow one and few are those who walk it.

Wide is the road of compromise, broken promises and half-truths.

It leads to destruction.

Ruth and Boaz walked uprightly in favor with God and people.

Their story begs us to ask the question, “What’s the pattern of our lives?”

Heart of a king

“Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer. “Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!” — 1 Samuel 14:1-52

I thought to myself looking back, “There was always something different about this kid.”

He was unflappable, all-in, fearless and didn’t respond to scraped knees and broken bones like other kids.

When my friend sent us pictures of his son’s graduation, I was not surprised one bit.

There he stood with some of his class, uniform perfectly pressed with trident in place — a navy seal.

The first king of Israel, Saul, had just such a son.

It was clear and obvious to everyone that Jonathan would be the next king.

The only thing that could possibly derail that inevitable future was his father.

Jonathan’s faith in God was true and growing.

Saul’s was not.

Jonathan’s courage was unshakeable.

Saul’s was not.

Jonathan understood the moment.

Saul did not.

If only Saul would have been more like his son, THE king would have come from his descendants.

What are we leaving behind to our children?

What’s the track record of our lives?

Do we have the heart of royalty beating in our chest?

Positive answers to these questions are not realized by trying to play the part.

They are realized by passionately pursuing the king of kings. Courageousness, character and Christlikeness are a byproduct of a growing relationship with Jesus.

Be assured, the next generation is watching.

Tom Wiles is senior minister of Fall Creek Christian Church in Pendleton. He can be reached at 765-778-3166.