Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Rewards of Friendship

They encourage us. They laugh with us. They cry with us. They are patient with us. They overlook our faults, yet speak the truth when we need to hear it the most. Friends. My American Heritage Dictionary defines 'friend' as, "A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts; a person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; comrade; one who supports..."
I think about one of the amazing stories of friendship in the Bible, that of Ruth and Naomi. Yes, they were also daughter-in-law and mother-in-law, but their relationship was truly amazing.

Naomi and her family had travelled to the land of Moab due to a famine in their city of Bethlehemjudah. While in the country of Moab, Naomi's sons met and married women from that land. In the course of just a few Bible verses in the book of Ruth, we're told that Naomi's husband and both of her sons die. Talk about overwhelming grief and tragedy!

Naomi decides to go back to her hometown and gives her blessing for both of her daughter-in-laws to remain in their country with their people. One of the women decides to remain, while Ruth makes the shocking decision to go with her mother-in-law. Look at her strong devotion spelled out in Ruth 1:16, "And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God" (KJV). At a time when there was almost nothing worse than being a widow, Ruth chose her friendship with Naomi over the opportunity to stay in her country and remarry.

Back in Bethlehemjudah, things were anything but easy. Ruth proved herself more than a shallow friend. She was willing to glean in the fields in order to provide food for Naomi and herself. She was careful to listen to the advice of her mother-in-law and act on it. I'm sure Ruth was both an encouragement and a blessing in the life of Naomi.

This true story has a fairy-tale ending. Ruth ends up catching the eye of the most eligible bachelor in the city, Boaz. It just so happens that Boaz is also a near kinsman, meaning he has the opportunity to 'redeem,' or marry Ruth. You guessed it! They end up getting married and we're let in on a pretty exciting detail - Boaz and Ruth's son, Obed, ends up being the grandfather of David, the future King of Israel (Ruth 4:22)! God certainly blessed the faithfulness of Ruth's choice to be a good friend to Naomi!

Fast forward to the present. Friendships are just as important, although they may look a little different. Because of the internet, we can establish friendships with those who may be miles, even continents away. Today, I'd like to take the opportunity to honor several of my blogger friends who have been an encouragement to me. Special thanks go to Theresa at Unstoppable Spirit for giving me the Loyal Award!

I am both honored and humbled that so many of you stop by and read my posts on a regular basis. I'd like to pass this award along to the following friends:

I was further overwhelmed with the, Inspirational Blog Award, from Ellie Kings! Ellie, I'd like to give you an award for talking me through the process of posting these awards to my site!! I think you should write a booklet entitled, "Award Posting for Dummies!" Thanks again.

I would like to pass this award along to the following friends:

Thanks again to all of you who stop by. My prayer is to point you to the "friend that sticketh closer than a brother," the Lord Jesus Christ (Proverbs 18:24)! God bless you!


  1. Hi Maria! Saw you were after God's thought I'd join you on this journey! :) Loved this post! I'll be stopping by often to see what God is doing in your life...I know it will encourage my faith walk!
    With joy,

  2. Yipee! Thanks Maria!

    You are such a blessing. It is evident that the Spirit of God dwells richly with you. Friendships remind me how much the Lord values relationships and requires that invest richly in them.

    Thank you for all that you pour into my life.

  3. I am nearly crying as I am typing this, I feel so blessed, thank you so much, I have never had one of those before. You have such a gift of encouragement. Be blessed. Have a super day. xxx

  4. Thank you, thank you Maria. You have richly blessed my life in more ways than you could ever know.

    I really appreciate all the prayers for my son and the every day devotions that I have with you.

    You inspire me and raise my spirits when they're low. Thank you for walking this walk with me. It makes it so much easier and fun too. :) *hugs*

  5. Cherie - Thanks for the beautiful words of encouragement! I stopped by your blog and was so blessed. I look forward to chatting with you soon! God bless!

    Tamika - You've been such an encouragement! You deserve it! :)

    Raymonde - I appreciate you! So glad I could be a blessing to you! Enjoy!! :)

    Robyn - It's so funny how we can feel such a connection with people just from the words they write! It's been a privilege to pray for Christopher (give him a hug for me :)). You're an inspiration!

  6. Ruth always amazed me. What a wonderful example of friendship. Thanks for the reminder.

    And thanks so much for the award!! I really appreciate it!

  7. Hi Maria!
    Thank you for the award! I just love that we can encourage one another through the blogging community and build friendships--and yes, I am amazed too at the ability to have those genuine friendships even though we're miles away! It's wonderful!

  8. Jill - You're welcome! You deserve it! :)

    Jody - I've enjoyed getting to know you through your blog posts and sweet comments. Enjoy the award, you deserve it!

  9. Hi Maria,
    Thanks so much for the award! I am honored and humbled, truly. I count you among my blessings, and it is always fun to stop by and check out your blog.

    The story of Ruth has always been one of my favorites. It was good to be reminded of it again today.

    Thanks and blessings!

  10. I knew you could do it Maria! You did great! So glad I could help. My ministry is in teaching although I haven't fully embraced it. It's baby steps for me. :) I have loved building friendships with you and others through blogging. I have been blessed with such lovely and inspirational friends.

    Congrats to all the ladies who won!

  11. Congrats to your for your awards! Just a hint--you're getting another one on Friday. I wrote the post last weekend and it'll show up then. :0) So get ready for one more!

    Friends are some of the biggest blessings we can have in life. I am so thankful for the ones God has given me.

  12. Hi Maria,
    Thanks so much for your encouragement and faithful example. It truly is a great blessing to be on the same road with you, learn side by side and watch as you go on the road ahead of me.
    Thank you for your sweet friendship and for being a 'kindred spirit'.
    I'm excited to see where God will lead you in the days to come.

  13. Karen - It's always great to see God @ work! Thanks for your friendship!

    Kristen - A BIG 'Thank You!' in advance!! You're a sweetheart! God bless!

    Dorothy - You're a blessing, Dorothy! Look forward to seeing how God will use your awesome ability to write! :)

  14. Friendship is the ultimate realization of our oneness.

  15. Thank you, Maria, for the awesome award! I am always amazed at the truly wonderful friends I've made while blogging! I am often overwhelmed by the encouragement and faith-driven support I've received blogging. Thanks again!

  16. Congrats on your awards. :-)

    The story of Ruth is wonderful. I'm so glad God gave them a HEA. :)

  17. Mark - Thanks for stopping by! God bless.

    Heather - I love your blog - you're very inspirational! I truly enjoy your friendship as well!

    Jessica - Thanks so much! Have a fantastic weekend! :)

  18. You and Steve mean so much to our family. Thanks for your faithfulness and sharing Christ's love with everyone. God bless you Maria... may the Lord give you the desires of your heart... G

  19. Ginger - I count it a privilege to call you my friend! I've appreciated our prayer times. Know that we feel the same way about your family! God bless you abundantly! :)