Now it came about in the days when the judges governed, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the land of Moab with his wife and his two sons.
— Ruth 1:1
After a period of time in the church life we may comment, “The brothers could have done this instead of that,” or, “Things are different; they are not as rich as before.” Perhaps things really are not as rich as before, or they may just seem less rich because our opinions have turned our hearts away from Christ. It is inevitable that in a rich church life people will eventually feel things are not as wonderful as they once were, that something is short. When this happens, we begin to have thoughts about other things. This is the onset of famine. Such an experience may affect just one individual or an entire church. However, everyone who has been caught by the Lord will encounter this feeling and perceive a lack.
When a church enters into this experience, its members will begin to look elsewhere for nourishment. Some may seek out the blessings they hear other groups are experiencing. They may leave to join other congregations or to start their own Christian group. Some will start wandering, seeking out help from a variety of other sources.
A famine is a time of testing. Previously, everyone experienced an abundance of food. Now, food is not so easy to come by. When confronting such times of famine, we should be happy because these are the times when we learn to appreciate what the Lord provides.
Adapted from Ruth: Growth Unto Maturity, pages 14-15.
Tomorrow: “Only Local Churches”