Timothy Culture Training
* Please use these resources to help prepare for your own missions trips and teams. They are free to everyone.
We believe after looking at the life of Ruth you will want to show the same qualities in your life and in your relationships with missionaries that you support. In the life of Ruth we see a story of someone who models another two very important qualities that are part of living out a Timothy culture in the Church. Also pretty cool that she ended up being King David’s great grandmother! We see her modeling the principles of loyalty and a servant heart.
Let’s look at her story together and see what God shows us.
Section 1 – Principles
First a few questions to help clarify what you understand these Ruth principles to mean. We will also ask you to return to these questions after going through this discussion/study and see if you look at each quality in a different way as a result of what you discover about Ruth.
- What is loyalty?
- Why is often hard to be loyal?
- What does it mean to have a servant heart?
- What is required to serve others well?
Section 2 – Passages
Take some time to read through each of these passages about Ruth and consider the corresponding questions as you read. Write down or share your answers with each after reading each passage through a few times.
Read Ruth 1:1-19
Ask: What does Ruth do here to show that she is loyal to Naomi?
Ask: What risks does Ruth take as a result of her loyalty?
Read Ruth 2:1-18
Ask: In what ways do you see Ruth displaying a servant heart in this part of her story?
Read Ruth 3:1-10
Ask: What stands out to Boaz about Ruth in this part of her story?
Section 3 – Personal
This section is designed to give you an opportunity to see what the Lord is showing you personally in the life of Ruth.
- As you have been reading Ruth’s story are there any people in your life who have come to mind that have modeled loyalty to you?
- Any stories that you can share about when you have seen a servant heart lived out by a friend or family member?
Section 4 – People
This video will give you a quick glimpse into the life of someone living out these Ruth principles in our world today. We might not be able to sit and chat with Kind David’s great grandmother at this point, but we can be inspired by similar stories like the one we see about Rich and Ivan in this video interview. Please watch this short interview and then answer a few questions about what you have seen.
WATCH Short Video on Small World Connections SWC YouTube Channel (12 minutes)
YouTube video titled: SWC Timothy Culture Training, Rich’s Story – Video 2
- In what ways does the story from the video interview remind you of the story of Ruth and Naomi?
- In what particular ways do you see both loyalty and servant hearts lived out in Rich’s story?
- As you think about both Rich and Ruth’s stories, why do you think it is so rare to hear stories like this?
Section 5 – Practical Points
In this last section we will share a few points of intersection that we see between the stories of Ruth and the goal we have to help connect a Timothy culture in the Church. In addition to these points we will give some practical ways to apply these in the context of our ministry with Small World Connections and other mission efforts.
Ruth stuck with Naomi
This story begins with something that might easily get glossed over in our day and age. We see this young woman make an oath in Ruth 1:1-19 that could have had very serious consequences. When Ruth makes her promise in v. 17 to stay with her mother-in-law Naomi, even to the point of death if necessary, she is vowing to go into a foreign land and take a chance of not finding a husband. In that culture at that time that could have resulted in a very dire situation. Still, Ruth makes the vow and sticks to her promise. She travels all the way to Bethlehem with Naomi even though there is no solid plan for how they will survive or knowledge of who will help them. She is clearly making a choice to take a risk, trust the Lord and stand by this person that she loves.
- Does the way Ruth makes this commitment seem a bit extreme to you and why?
- What do you think the relationship is between risk and loyalty?
Ruth worked hard for benefit of others
Once they had arrived in Bethlehem we see this young woman initiate the idea in Ruth 2:1-18 that she might be able to go out and follow behind the harvesters to collect any grain left behind. In v.2 we read that her hope was to find someone generous enough to let her work hard and collect the leftovers. The Lord had arranged for her to have a try in a field that belonged to Boaz who was a relative of her deceased father-in-law. Before she even meets Boaz he has already heard about her commitment to Naomi and her willingness to live among strangers in order to help take care of her mother-in-law. We see Boaz go out of his way to make sure that his workers leave plenty for her to collect. We also see Ruth saving her leftover roasted grain from the meal Boaz provided for her during the day in order to share it with Naomi when she returns home. There is an exchange in v.11-12 where Boaz speaks openly about his desire for her to be rewarded for her service to Naomi and he blesses her for taking refuge in the Lord!
- What stands out to you about this part of Ruth’s story?
- How do you think Boaz heard about what Ruth was doing before she even met him and what does that show you about this kind of servant heart?
Ruth rewarded for serving with loyalty
It is clear in Ruth 3:1-10 that Boaz is a man on a mission. He wants Ruth to be his bride. Besides the obvious love that is growing between them, Boaz also clearly states why he is amazed at Ruth. In v. 10-13 we read that Boaz realizes that Ruth could have easily gone after a younger man. Taking a younger man as a husband would have meant potentially more children in the future and a more secure life as she aged. Instead she makes a choice to remain loyal to Boaz and help provide for Naomi at the same time. Boaz being an older man meant that he would have more wealth and that plus the way he had blessed Ruth already meant that she was sticking with him as her choice for family redeemer. The family redeemer was an important role in their culture in order to take care of family members, but due to Ruth’s loyalty and her service Boaz was going to go out of his way to make sure God’s blessing to these two came through him if possible.
- What do you think Ruth would say was most important to her in life and why do you think that would be her answer?
- What are a few risks you might need to take if you were loyal to someone on the mission field and wanted to serve them in a similar way to how Ruth served Naomi?
Ruth – Loyalty and a Servant Heart Relationship Application Opportunities:
a. Ruth establishes a reputation for serving and being loyal. It is clear that she set the whole direction of her life based on a relationship that she was committed to preserving with Naomi. It was her actions that showed she was willing to take risks for the good of others. So first identify missionaries that you believe God is calling you to serve through a loyal relationship.
b. Find ways to connect with them and begin to get to know them and their ministry.
c. As you connect with your missionary friends start to ask them what they are dreaming about for their ministry.
d. Instead of looking out just for herself, Ruth came up with plans to bless Naomi. Come up with a plan yourself for how you can help your missionary friends accomplish their ministry dreams.
Return to our initial questions under Section 1- Principles and see if you would answer those any differently. Use the space below to highlight your change in perspective on those questions.