(May 22, 2020)

Ruth 1:1-5…the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. … But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.”

Mahlon and Chilion. These are the names of two sons of that dear couple, Elimelech and Naomi. Throughout history – and even today – we often name our children after people in the Bible, such as James, David, Paul, Matthew, Sam or Mark. …ever heard of someone named Mahlon or Chilion?

Names in the Bible give a window into the soul. “Mahlon and Chilion” would translate something like “sickly and frailty” or “puny and weakling” or “death-ness and dying.” Subtle. Hmmm, I wonder where this story is going. Oh, they die? No shocker there! The original reader saw that one coming a mile away.

They did only one thing other than die: they married Moabite women. This is what you would call “not good.” They married outside the faith. It looks like these two sons are the polar opposite of their faithful father. It seems like their physical selves mirror their spiritual selves, such as is the case with Eli in I Samuel. Or Moses.

What kind of legacy is that? …Is that how you want to be remembered?

It could be worse. There is a rabbinic tradition that asks: Do you know who the saddest figure in the whole Old Testament is? Answer: Methuselah. Because he lived longer than anyone else – he had more chances – and the only thing that could be said of all those 969 years that he lived was that he died.

Which leaves us with the question. What will they say about you?

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Father may we not waste these days that You have given us. Help us to slow down so that we might consider what lasting fruit we are co-creating with you. May we glorify You and enjoy You forever. In the name of the True Vine, Jesus Christ. Amen.