Robert Silvers is the artist who combined digital technology with photography to create what he calls Photomosaic art. What exactly is a Photomosaic? I’m glad you asked.
A Photomosaic is a big photograph that is actually made up of thousands of little photographs. From a distance you see the big picture, but it takes a closer examination to see the smaller pictures used to create art image.
Silvers invented his unique technology while he was a student at the MIT Media Lab. He dazzled the art world, has won numerous awards, and includes Mastercard, Disney and LIFE magazine among his corporate clients.
The National Gallery in London selected Silvers’ portrait of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates for their “Painting of the Year” exhibit, highlighting influential art in the 21st century.
What does this have to do with a Moabite named Ruth and her story found in the Bible? Like a Photomosaic, the Book of Ruth is a little picture in a much bigger picture.
My friend Dr. Tom Builick taught me to always look for the upper and lower story in God’s word. By the upper story he meant the big picture of God’s redemptive plan. By the lower story he meant the more immediate tale in the text. The Bible is full of little stories that make up the much bigger story that is actually God’s story.
The upper story or big picture in Ruth shows how God’s redemptive plan unfolds through one more family, one more generation. The lower story or little picture is about a young Moabite woman named Ruth who marries Boaz, her kinsman redeemer. They give birth to a child who becomes the grandfather of King David, the line from which Messiah came.
It’s easy to get lost in the big picture and to conclude that our puny lives really don’t matter. But Ruth dispels that myth. Yes, God has grand plans and grand purposes that he will fulfill in the grandness of time and eternity. But Ruth helps me see how the little picture of my life fits into God’s big mosaic.
The Bible’s Ruth is part history book, romance novel, and theology of God’s grace. It starts with a famine and ends with the birth of a baby. It shows us how God works out his plan of redemption in spite of Israel’s spiritual anarchy. It’s a story within His Story. It reminds us that no life is insignificant. Even a poor peasant girl from Moab has a place in God’s story.
The Book of Ruth also reads like a romance novel. Everybody enjoys a good love story. This one doesn’t disappoint. A beautiful girl from Moab becomes a young widow when her husband dies unexpectedly. She moves to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law, Naomi, who is also a widow, albeit bitter because of her hard life. They are poor, so Ruth begins gleaning in the fields to put food on the table.
In those days, gleaning behind the harvesters was like standing in line for food stamps. Boaz, the owner of the field, notices Ruth. He is also her near kinsman, a relative. They fall in love and get married despite a complicated legal battle. Ruth and Naomi are redeemed from a life of poverty. Boaz and Ruth have a baby named Obed who becomes the grandfather of King David from whom the Messiah came. Ah, that’s what this story is all about.
Ruth is better than a Harlequin Romance and an important link to the lineage that leads to Messiah. She is one of four women to appear in the genealogy of Jesus Christ found in Matthew 1. The book also teaches us something about God. The providence of God and the grace of God are powerful themes that emerge from this beautiful story.
So, the next time you're tempted to think your little life doesn't matter, remember Ruth. Yours is a Photomosaic life too.