We quickly think of the biblical prototypes:
Moses parting the Red Sea,
Joshua leading the Israelites to demolish the wall of Jericho with a shout,
David marshaling his troops for battle,
Gideon confronting the indomitable Midianite army with only three hundred soldiers,
Esther going before King Ahasuerus knowing that her life hung in the balance,
Peter preaching salvation to the large throng of Jews gathered on the day of Pentecost.
It’s easy to conclude that if we’re not throwing caution to the winds, we’re not really taking a step of faith.
Few first steps are less inspiring than putting money in the bank. No one notices, there are no neon lights, and there is no immediate reward for this act of discipline.
In fact, the period you must wait for any significant benefit can seem interminable. Yet with time, the incremental gains grow larger and larger, and the eventual profit is considerable.
It conveys an unmistakable lesson–that we shouldn’t neglect the benefit of a small beginning in any venture of faith.
Ruth’s marriage to Boaz–one of the most celebrated in Scripture–resulted from a small, ignoble step forward.
The marriage became possible because Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, moved from Moab to Bethlehem. This move, detailed in the book of Ruth, was anything but a triumphant one for these two women.
Both went to Bethlehem as widows–Naomi returning grief-stricken to her homeland, and Ruth following along out of devotion to Naomi. The move was borne more of necessity than of vibrant vision for the future.
Ruth met Boaz and married him, then gave birth to a son who became an ancestor of David. Naomi also found new life in this family connection, and in the many friendships that opened for her in Bethlehem.
An unglamorous step forward brought about a wellspring of life for Naomi, Ruth, Boaz, and countless others who enjoyed the family relationships that resulted in the succeeding generations.