I wonder if Naomi ever thought of herself as a leader?

Obviously, she was a wife, a mother, and a mother-in-law. We have no indication that she had any outside job or responsibility. In our culture today, we might actually hear her called, “Just a housewife.”

Because of a famine, Naomi had traveled from Bethlehem, with her husband, Elimelech, to Moab. We are told that they had two sons, Mahlon and Chilion. There Elimelech died and she was left with her two sons, who then married Moabite women, Orpha and Ruth.

We often pray that our children will marry Christians. I am sure that Naomi would have preferred that her own sons could have married young women from Judah.

When our boys were young, I began praying that they would marry Christians. However, as they got older and I observed many Christian young ladies, I would think, “But not that one!” I knew too much about what went on outside of worship and Bible class.

I knew I had to think through that prayer. What if they did marry a Christian who later decided that she didn’t want to follow Christ anymore? I saw too many Christians divorcing and not really committed to God’s design for marriage for a lifetime.

I knew I had to change my prayer. After all, I was not a Christian when we married. You see, I realized that marrying a Christian did not guarantee a happy ending. I changed my plea. I began praying instead that our sons would marry the young ladies who would help them get to heaven!

In Naomi’s case, her two sons died and she was left with two daughters-in-law who were from a foreign country. Their extended families were probably not far away from them there in Moab.

Naomi decided to return to Judah. She asked Orpah and Ruth to remain in their own country. At first, both protested. However, Naomi insisted that they stay and find new husbands.

The Bible tells us that they wept, then Orpah kissed Naomi but Ruth clung to her.

Naomi told Ruth to go back to her people with Orpah. And then Ruth spoke these powerful, famous words of love and loyalty:

“Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following you; For wherever you will go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, My God. Where you die, I will die, And there I will be buried. Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death, parts you and me.”…Ruth 1: 16-17

Wow! What a testimony to Naomi’s leadership! In the middle of all of Naomi’s tragedy, she had lived such a life of faith that Ruth declared she would follow Naomi to her grave.

Because of Naomi’s daily life of leadership, Ruth and her son, Obed by Boaz, are part of the lineage of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

By our actions and reactions to our circumstances, every one of us is leading someone every day. We need to ask ourselves if we are showing them, Christ, by our response, or are we emulating the world? They are watching! And you are leading!

Sheila Butt
+ posts

Sheila Butt was born in Rockford, IL, and attended East Tennessee State University. She graduated with a B.S. Degree in English with a minor in History. She has also studied Greek and Hermeneutics at David Lipscomb University. She is married to Stan Butt Sr., a minister, and the Executive Director for the Tennessee Dairy Association. She and Stan have three sons and nine grandchildren. Her two oldest granddaughters, Emma and Grace Anne are students at Freed-Hardeman University.

Sheila graduated from the women’s program at Bear Valley Bible Institute and has taught Ladies’ Days and in Lectureships for the past 25 years. She has been on numerous mission trips to many of the Caribbean islands, Honduras, Panama, and Alaska. She taught in the Horizons Program for many years and received the Kay Battles Service Award from that program. Sheila has written two books for ladies and teen girls and co-authored another with several women entitled “We Bow Down.” Sheila was the recipient of the “Golden Pen Award” from Publishing Designs for her work on those publications. She has written articles for Christian Woman and been featured in Christian Woman for her service as a Tennessee State Legislator.

Sheila Butt was elected to the Tennessee General Assembly in 2010 serving the 64th District and served in four General Assemblies.   She served as a Co-Chairman for the Congressional Prayer Caucus of Tennessee.

Sheila was the 2016 recipient of the Agriculture Legislator of the year by the TN Cattlemen’s Association. She is the recipient of the “Iron Lady Award” by the 9.12 Nashville Project in 2015.  She is the recipient of the 2013 Legislator of the Year Award by the South-Central Tennessee Development District. In November of 2013, Sheila received the “Elected Women of Excellence” award by the National Foundation for Women Legislators for her “dedicated service, leadership and passion for Tennessee and her country.”

She is known nationwide for her integrity and an articulate message of standing for “faith, family and freedom.”

Since deciding not to run for a 5th term in 2018, Sheila began a Women’s Ministry called “Sisters, Servants, Soldiers” and much good is being done in the Kingdom of God as this ministry enables women to teach, mobilize, motivate, and provides opportunities for women to serve The Lord with their talents to His glory!

Currently, Sheila also serves as the Mayor of one of the fastest growing counties in the State of Tennessee.