As Mark Driscoll prepares to start into another sermon series going through the Book of Ruth, it will be worthwhile to revisit a memorable exposition on his own personality he gave in January 2007 the first time he preached through Ruth, back in the old days of Mars Hill. Driscoll shared a story about how he asked his wife which person in the book of Ruth he most resembled. While Driscoll may have hoped he would be described as a Boaz that was definitely not how Grace Driscoll described him.
January 07, 2007
...Elimelech is the guy--everything falls apart. It looks dark, it looks bad. He takes a poll he makes a plan. He decides Moab has a lower cost of living. Moab has more vocational opportunity. Moab has food on the table. I will make a plan, I will be the sovereign. I will take care of everything. Trust me. I know what I'm doing. He leads well. He plans well. He tries to be the sovereign (they're all going to die anyways). I am Elimelech.
I asked my wife, "Which one am I?" ... She didn't even breath, didn't even take a breath, "Oh, you're Elimelech." And his name means what? MY GOD IS KING! That was me. If you asked me, Jesus, sovereign, lord, king, God! And if I ever need Him I'll call him but I don't think I do because I've got all this taken care of.
And how many of you are Naomi-ish? You’re a bitter, moody, cranky, self-righteous, finger-pointing, brutally honest, frustrating person that God loves deeply, for no apparent reason. You want to know me? Here’s how I work. I start with Elimelech. If that doesn’t work, I go to Naomi. That’s me. “I’ll figure it out. I’ll make a plan. I’ll lead well. I’ll take care of everything. Give me the variables. I got it all figured out. It didn’t work? Well, God, did you not get the memo? I knew exactly what needed to be done! [emphases added] I’m not sure who to call to tattle.” And if we’re honest, we find ourselves at varying seasons in our lives identifying with each character in the story.
So .., start with an Elimelech-ish presumption that whatever you want to do is okay by God and then once things don't go as planned you get bitter and angry that God didn't get your personal memo to arrange for how the universe was supposed to be. It's hard not to get the impression that even if he hasn't turned Naomi about what happened to him in the last year or so at Mars Hill, his take on Elimelech as the not-as-godly-as-his-name-might-suggest guy who comes up with a plan that blows up in his face and ruins the lives of everyone close to him and causes his family that remains to flee in a kind of exile to some far off land ... well, Mark Driscoll kinda sounds like he's still pretty much like Elimelech.