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Leadership Lessons from Naomi

Leadership Lessons: Book of Ruth  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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This series draws leadership lessons based on the three prominent characters in the Book of Ruth: Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz.

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We need the courage to trust God in tough times

Ruth 1:1–2 NIV
In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.
Ruth 1:3–4 NIV
Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years,
Ruth 1:3–5 NIV
Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.
We need to walk by faith, not by sight.
We need to live for eternal things, not earthly comforts.
We need to define success in God’s terms, not human terms.
We need to live in HIS ways (Humility Integrity Simplicity), not ours (cars, trophies, securities, etc.).
I need to source illustrations of this idea. The big idea from Elimelek (whose name means “my God is king,” but whose behaviour denied confidence in God’s sovereignity) and Naomi is that they should not have fled to Moab, seeking blessing amongst the cursed. They needed to trust God to protect and provide in the Promised Land.

We need to believe that God is good at all times

This point is based on Naomi’s descent into blaming God for her misfortunes. She concluded that God had afflicted her and treated her harshly. We need to guard our hearts against all temptation to blame God for wrongdoing. We need to settle in our hearts the conviction that “God is good” when we are not suffering.
The single best tool here is a strong theology of the cross. (Perhaps the story from Hannegraaf, Christianity in Crisis, of the train operator who sacrificed his son to save the oblivious masses.)
Irony: Naomi = pleasant, but she was Mara = bitter.
As leaders, we need to guard our hearts for from them flow the issues of life. We need to guard against a bitter and unforgiving heart (; ; ).

We need eyes to see God at work behind the scenes

This point will be about the providence of God at work in Naomi’s life, which she could not see because she was blinded by bitterness. Bitterness and unbelief blind us to the providential working of God among and for us.
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