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This is part 2 of a multi-part series on singleness.
Many are in a season of their life when they are available to pursue a relationship with whomever God has for them. They truly feel that God has prepared them, and they are patiently waiting on him for signs of the right person.
Again the Biblical book of Ruth has something to say to you who are in that season of being ready and available.
In Ruth Chapter 2, we catch up with Ruth who is back in the city of Bethlehem. Not being sure of how things operated, she did the best thing that came to her mind. She decided to work, thereby making a significant contribution to her upkeep. Ruth goes into town and finds a job. It’s here that she spends the entire summer, daily going to the grain fields, and working relentlessly all day to harvest some food for her and her mother-in-law. It is at this place of work that she meets Boaz, who unbeknownst to her will later be “the one”. Boaz is single, and older. Though the Bible doesn’t tell us why he is still single, he is clearly available. Together both Ruth’s and Boaz’s stories are instructive for singles.
Ruth shows us the importance of being “busy in the field”. She wasn’t simply waiting to be swept off her feet by whoever. Instead she decided to keep herself significantly occupied. Keeping yourself busy as a single person is a key strategy to working out this period of your life. At a basic level is pursuing a career or training that will lead to a career. On a more comprehensive level is getting involved in extracurricular activities at your church, in your community, or even launching an initiative that will impact lives. I am always surprised at how much time people spend on things that don’t really matter simply because they are available. As a Christian, God owns all your time not just the few hours a week you spend in church. How do you account for your time? Are you busy in the field as God would want you to be, or are you just simply doing your own thing? He wants you to get busy in the field today, in your single period, and not wait until tomorrow when you find a spouse.
One may wonder, will I be too busy to notice “the one”? According to Ruth’s story, this is as far from the truth as can be. It is because she was busy that Boaz noticed her. The truth is, core values are the deepest attractional qualities that a person possesses and they are best profiled dynamically when one is busy working or serving. Think about it: If your core value is hard work, then you won’t be attracted to a person who is fine with idle activities or trivial pursuits. Or if you value children, then likely the person you will be attracted to is already involved in some sort of endeavor that involves children. If they are not already exhibiting the values that you espouse, you may need to concede that they are not for you.
Boaz, on the other hand shows us the principle of pursuit. This is directed equally both at men and women, but particularly with a special emphasis for guys.
For the men, I want you to notice what Boaz did when he observed Ruth; he pursued her. Would he have won her if he hadn’t? I don’t think so. He actually had to do something. I remember as a young adult, my friend and I would often observe the young women and comment on who we wanted to pursue. But each time when it came to actually talking to someone, my friend would just literally choke. It became clear to me that he was all talk, and that he preferred to stay in the comfort zone of observation rather than actually pursue.
If you are interested in a woman, then guys, you have to make your intentions known, plain and simple. Not in a weird, aggressive or awkward manner, but with wisdom.
Notice again the example of Boaz. He spoke to others who knew her, and he took time and attention in approaching her. Even when he approached her he was sensitive, offering her some food, instead of scaring her away by asking for her hand in marriage. He showed his intent by his pursuit of Ruth.
Likewise for the women, I want to make a statement that will be a blessing to you: the proof of one’s desire is pursuit.So what does this mean? That if that gentleman desires to be with you, he will pursue you. You don’t have to second guess or wonder, if there is a desire; there will be a pursuit.
I have had young women ask, “how do I know if he desires me”? The answer is in the above statement. If he is pursuing you then he desires you. Then they ask, “What if he is not quite ready, should I wait for him?” My answer would be, no. Let him go. God has something better in mind for you.
Now I know someone will wonder, why can’t the woman pursue? The answer is they can, but to a point.
Women need to make it clear that they are available, and interested. Ruth made herself available to Boaz.
She showed she was interested in him, in a way that was clear in the culture of that day. She laid at his feet, which indicated she was willing to be under his covering. However, Boaz ultimately had to pursue her by going to the elders, taking on the relative who was next in line to marry her, and all before the sun went down that day. Clearly he was very motivated. Sometimes, the woman is tempted to pursue, particularly when the man is delaying to marry her. In my experience, whenever a woman pursues a man too aggresively, she may never be too sure if he really wanted her. See, largely due to male/female dynamics, some things really do have to be self-initiated. Ladies, when you force the issue by being too forward in starting the relationship or speeding it up, things may get confusing later for the other party as they may have had doubts about the relationship. Granted, he could truly desire her, then everything will probably work out ok, but if he is more of a quiet, introspective and less communicative sort, you may short circuit the process of him working things out for himself, and end up babysitting your man till kingdom come. Not a pretty sight.
Ruth patiently waited, until she was pursued, but let’s be clear, if the pursuit hadn’t come she would have been content and clung to her family and her God. As you continue to wait on the Lord, and seek his leading, may God give some of you perseverance to wait and others clarity to know and boldness to pursue.
– Pastor Olu Jegede