And Ruth said,
“Entreat 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:
Where thou diest, will I die,
and there will I be buried:
the Lord do so to me, and more also,
if ought but death part thee and me.”
Ruth 1:16 – 17 KJV
Christian mentorship is a deep relationship between an individual and God that is facilitated by someone else who already has such a deep relationship. Ruth’s plea to Naomi reminds us of that when Peter is faced with leaving Jesus after so many disciples have left the Lord, and he replies to Jesus: “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life (John 6:68 KJV).” Because of a disciple’s great love for and connection to God, when faced with departing their mentor, the disciple knows there is only one place for them.
The Moabitess Ruth stuck by Naomi and listened as the Jewish widow directed her in how to fit in with the society of the Jews. Ruth followed Naomi’s instruction in how to find provision, how to relate to others through humble service, and ultimately how to get closer to the one who would redeem her. For her part, Naomi’s instruction pointed away from herself and toward the Redeemer. Naomi facilitated the relationship between Ruth and Boaz, which inexorably led to the birth of David and eventually Jesus. Naomi brought the Gentile Ruth into the tribe of Judah to save her and to seek God’s grace.
As disciple makers, we are to always be directing people to Christ, not to ourselves. And so long as our mentor also points to Christ, as disciples we are to go where our mentor leads, to go where they go, live how they live, and if need be, to even die for Jesus. As Paul said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ (I Corinthians 11:1 NKJV).” Our people are no longer our families but other believers, our nation is no longer our homeland but wherever God takes us. And of course, our God is the Redeemer and Savior of the world, Christ Jesus our Lord.