Sermons

Summary: Part two of a three part series on Marriage

I am currently working with a group of middle and high school students through a community initiative called “Communities That Care.” CTC is seeking to develop a climate in our county that will reduce drug, alcohol, and tobacco use as well as create a more pro-active involvement among our youth and, we hope, will lead them to a better life and lifestyle.

At our last meeting, we came up with a slogan (which I am keeping quiet about because it will be released at the appropriate time) that will inform our county community about their efforts and goals. Now one thing that I will keep asking them is “What does this mean?” because the meaning behind the slogan will be the important thing.

We have so many slogans these days. But what do they mean? Think about McDonalds and Burger King. How many advertising slogans have they had in the past 10 years, 20 years, 30 years?

(It is time for some audience participation! What have been some of McDonald’s slogans? What’s the current one? What about Burger King? What have been their slogans? What is it now?)

“Talk is cheap.” Now there’s a slogan. What does it mean? (More audience participation.)

Though words are often substituted for action, words are important. Words have the power to help or heal, hinder or empower.

There are a set of words that those of us who are married have said at a critical moment in our lives. We have said them in one form or another in the presence of either a large group or small group of people. They are important words that give us a guide on how to stay married for all the right reasons. They must not become slogans:

Will you have this man or woman to be your husband or wife; to live together in the holy covenant of marriage? Will you love him or her, comfort him or her, honor and keep him or her, in sickness and in health, and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him or her so long as you both shall live?

I blank, take you blank to be my husband or wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death; as God is my witness, I give you my promise.

When I said these words to Susan just past 22 years ago now, I said them as words of commitment. I meant what I said. I still do.

However, what I have learned in the past 22 years are the implications of that commitment and they are tremendous implications. I again remind us this morning of the Henry Ford quote, “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”

This is the second of our three sermon series on “Marriage…For All the Right Reasons.” We are studying the relationship of Boaz and Ruth in the Old Testament book of Ruth and looking for things that can help us in this very important and God-created relationship.

Last week we heard about the character issue and its importance in marriage. The Biblical account of Boaz and Ruth makes clear that their character was very good. I pointed out that Dr. Neil Warren in his book, Falling in Love for all the Right Reasons, indicated that a good character was the foundation for a good marriage and an important component of a potential marriage partner.

This morning our study focuses on a very important (and oft-spoken) word – commitment. Warren calls commitment, “the glue that keeps it all together.” However, I have a question, “What is it that we are committed to in marriage?”

Let’s revisit Boaz and Ruth this morning. Our text contains a critical moment in the lives of both Boaz and Ruth. It is a test of their character and it is a test of their commitments.

Let’s back up for a moment and review the story so far…

Ruth is a woman from the nation of Moab that sits east of Israel. Today the area is part of the nation of Jordan. She marries an Israelite man, who comes to Moab with his family due to famine in Israel.

He dies, and so do his father and his brother. This makes Ruth, her mother-in-law, and sister-in-law widows.

Eventually Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, hears that a good harvest is happening back home and so returns to Israel. Ruth goes with her even though Naomi pleads with her to return to her own family.

They arrive in time for the harvest and Ruth becomes a harvester in a field owned by Boaz who is a distant relative of her late father-in-law. Boaz notices Ruth one day and likes her and does all he can to help her provide for Naomi and herself.

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