This past weekend was our annual Women’s Retreat in Ocean City, New Jersey. This was my first year in attendance as usually the district youth retreat is the same weekend; however, we were able to finagle it to a new weekend with only a few hiccups. Even though our Women’s Ministry board is small, we are mighty–and our fearfully-fearless leader is always planning ahead which helps prevent some major potential roadblocks.
I didn’t go into this retreat feeling that I would be changed forever. I know retreats are a time of refreshing and renewal and to spend time with other like-minded women. This year was no different. While I could see other women being touched by God, I was simply soaking it in and listening to the underlying message that many women and the speaker so clearly hit on. When God speaks loudly, He doesn’t always just speak once.
Our speaker, Donna James from Bethany Church in North Jersey, did a study on Ruth and broke down this beautiful story of redemption. A story that I believe is clearly directed at our church and it’s current and continual struggles in many ways. One blatant example was when Donna brought up how Boaz protected Ruth by allowing her to glean in his fields and directed her to not go to another field because it was dangerous.
To stay in your field. This has a huge impact on Christians from a number of angles–relationships, fiances, church, etc. Do not compare your field to another’s field, simply work your field. Don’t look at other men/women, don’t overspend your finances, don’t compare children, houses, jobs. And the part that hit me most — don’t compare your church in how it looks, feels or functions.
We are called to work our field. Our church is called to work our field, in the way our field functions–if we have tomatoes, we cannot compare to the vastness of a corn field–but that is what we have been given from God and that is what we are called to. At the end of our lives, we are judged based on what God called us to do individually. As a tomato gardener, will not be judged on how much corn we harvest, but rather on how many tomatoes we garden. God only asks what we have done with what we have been given–our resources, our calling, our life.
Such a powerful message from one verse in a book that not many take note of–a book about a kinsman redeemer. This weekend was an overwhelming reassurance that our church body is getting the same message loud and clear, and that when God speaks, He doesn’t always speak just once. With our women at this retreat on this weekend, He spoke multiple times, with the same message.
On a similar note, I was reminded of the fact that one message can be heard at the same time by various women and not be heard in the same manner. For example, I could tell you the story about King Solomon, the two mothers and one baby. Some would focus on the God-given wisdom of Solomon, others on the greediness of the mother whose child had died, and others on the sacrificial love of the mother who would rather her son grow up in another woman’s arms that see him killed. The same story with multiple angles and how God allows us to hear what we need to hear through that story. Which is why the Bible is the living, breathing word of God. You are hit differently in different times of life, with different circumstances and God reveals Himself in different ways accordingly through a book that has existed for hundreds of years.