Ruth’s co-worker, Stella, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. After talking with Stella on the phone a few times, Ruth came to realize that the Lord was putting it on her heart to visit Stella and bring his word to her. Ruth was initially reluctant. “Lord, are you sure you want me to do this? I am not very good at this sort of thing.” After some prayer and few sleepless nights, Ruth asked Stella if she was receiving visitors. Stella said yes, and also mentioned that she had been having several dreams and that Ruth was in each of them. Ruth took this as a sign that the Holy Spirit was bringing them together.
When Ruth visited her the following day, Stella spoke of her religious upbringing as a child; she asked about the right way to pray, and wondered if her illness was a result of something bad in her life. Ruth assured her that was not the case and that God loved her more than she could comprehend. All she needed to do was invite God into her life.
Ruth said, “Over the next few visits, we continued to talk and pray, and Stella invited Jesus into her life. The last time I saw her she had an angelic, peaceful quality about her, and although she could barely whisper, she assured me that she was praying and would be fine.”
Although Ruth initially resisted the promptings she was receiving, she eventually yielded to God’s will to bring his word and offer of salvation to Stella before she died. By doing so, Ruth was fulfilling God’s will and furthering her kinship with Jesus.
Three of the gospels tell a story about how we can grow in kinship with Jesus. On one occasion when Jesus is surrounded by a large crowd of people, he was told that his mother and brothers were outside. Jesus asks, “Who are my mother and brothers? Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, ’Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:31-35)
This may seem to be a curious response by Jesus. Yet, he is not denigrating his mother or kinship as much as he is raising those who do God’s will to the importance and level of kinship. For most of us, there can be no more honored status than our mothers who gave us life. Jesus is saying that those who do God’s will are similar in status and importance.
Jesus is using what appears to be an extreme statement to get our attention on how important it is to do God’s will in all things — in all our daily choices, large and small.
Are there areas in your life where you can seek greater kinship with Jesus by doing God’s will?