Julie stared at the soft patch of light on the ceiling above her bed. She couldn't sleep. Julie had a problem!
At the dinner table this evening, Mama had told Daddy that Grandma wanted Julie to spend the summer vacation with her and Grandpa. Julie had never been away from home for that long before, but she loved going to Grandma's. Mama had asked Daddy what he thought. "What does Julie want to do?" he asked. They told her to think about it.
Now she couldn't sleep. She thought about the trip her mother and father were planning to take. It would be fun to go with them, she thought. But if I stay with Grandma I'll get to go to the camp meeting with her and to the youth camp afterward. She always helps at the youth camp. Grandma says I would have lots of fun.
Julie loved being with Grandma and Grandpa. They told her Bible stories, and showed her where to find those stories in her own Bible. They had even given her the Bible she had just read out of tonight. It was Grandma and Grandpa who had prayed with her when she had asked Jesus to come into her heart. She still remembered that night and how happy she had been. She loved Jesus so much! She wished she lived near Grandma and Grandpa so she could always go to church and Sunday school.
If she went to her grandparents for the summer she could go to church for that long at least. Grandma had asked Mama and Daddy to stop by on their trip and enjoy part of the camp meeting. I wish they would, she thought. I want them to ask Jesus into their hearts too.
"This is sort of like Ruth in the Bible story," Julie whispered to herself. "She had to decide whether to go with Naomi or stay with her family."
Closing her eyes, Julie continued to think about that Bible story. Ruth's mother-in-law, Naomi, had lived many years in the land of Moab. That was where Ruth's family lived. When Naomi was planning to return to her homeland, Ruth had to decide whether to go with her or not. If she went with Naomi she would be going a long way to another country to live. It might be many years before she saw her family again. Maybe she would never see them again! But Ruth made the decision to go with Naomi because she loved her and she loved Naomi's God. I'd like to be like Ruth ...
"Mama! Daddy!" Julie said as she came to the breakfast table the next morning. "I've decided what I'm going to do during my vacation. I'm going to go to Grandma and Grandpa's. Do you want to know why?"
The beautiful story of Ruth's purpose to leave her homeland and follow the God of her mother-in-law, Naomi, is one of the treasured stories of the Bible. Emphasis in this lesson will be placed on the thought that God could use Ruth because she was willing to follow God even though it meant leaving all that was dear and familiar to her.
As you talk with your child about what it means to follow God, here is a short activity which will help your little one visualize this concept. Have your child remove his shoes so you can outline his feet on a piece of construction paper. Let him color and decorate the outlines of his feet however he wishes.
The feet can be cut out and mounted on a separate piece of paper under the words, "I Will Follow Jesus." Add a sticker or small picture of Jesus if you wish.