There’s a story about a group of chefs who loved being a part of the restaurant where they worked. In that kitchen, affection and companionship was palpable. One day, the head chef decided to quit his job, and the restaurant fell apart. Hidden jealousies arose, and kitchen sabotage became the norm. The pleasant atmosphere that the head chef had created was completely shattered. The workplace became so intolerable that, one by one, the chefs resigned from the restaurant they once loved so dearly.
There are people with a remarkable ability to bring unity wherever they go. Naomi was one such person. When looking at the story of Ruth, people often perceive Naomi as just a woman who lost much in her lifetime but was blessed with a devoted daughter-in-law. While that is true, Naomi was more than that.
Though Ruth and Orpah were foreigners to her, Naomi managed to love them so much that they cried at the thought of leaving her. She had created such a profound bond in the household that even after Ruth and Orpah lost their husbands — the reason why they were related to her — they were unwilling to go back home. She had managed to create a space so fulfilling that even with the loss of a dear one, love remained in that household.
The bond that Naomi created at home must have influenced Ruth’s intense desire to accept God. Had Naomi been mean and coercive, Ruth would have been uninterested by anything she had to offer.
Like a newborn child, the only picture Ruth had of God was what Naomi and her family presented to her. Naomi represented God so well that Ruth was willing to know the God that influenced Naomi’s character. As parents, we will be representatives of God to our children until they are able to meet God for themselves. Without unity in our homes, the children would be less receptive to God and would consider that disunity and lack of love as part of God’s character.
Being able to create unity is a quality we can all learn. When we exhibit the fruits of the Spirit in our daily lives, others are drawn near. We become instruments through which they can experience God’s love.