I have been slowly reading through the Bible because I want to fully read and study God’s living Word. I am currently in the book of Ruth and even though it is a short book, it has so much truth and grace wrapped up in those 4 chapters. Here are some things that God spoke to me through chapter 2.
Ruth: A Hard Worker
Ruth 2:5-7 – “Then Boaz asked his foreman, ‘Who is that young woman over there? Who does she belong to?’ And the foreman replied, ‘She is the young woman from Moab who came back with Naomi. She asked me this morning if she could gather grain behind the harvesters. She has been hard at work ever since, except for a few minutes rest in the shelter.'”
- Ruth had just come into town with her mother-in-law Naomi to help care for her and she had to get to work to provide a living for them. She took the initiative instead of waiting around for things to happen for her. She went into the fields after the harvesters to “glean” what was left over. Gleaning was after the harvesters had cut the wheat and the barley stalks, the poor people could come in and pick up any grain that was dropped or left over. This job was probably a rough task. It was tiring and even degrading. It wasn’t a job that many people would choose to do. But Ruth did it faithfully.
- How many people enjoy their jobs? What tasks in our lives do we completely despise? What’s your attitude in these situations? Does your job feel worthy of your potential? Tough questions. But maybe God has put us in these situations to test our character. He wants to see how we will react. Does your attitude reflect your heart? Colossians 3:23 says, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” When we change our attitude as if we are working for God instead of people, God can change our hearts toward the situation. God will use these menial tasks to mold and shape us and open up doors for new opportunities.
Ruth: A Good Reputation
Ruth 2:10-12 – “Ruth fell at his feet and thanked him warmly. ‘What have I done to deserve such kindness?’ she asked. ‘I am only a foreigner.’ ‘Yes, I know,’ Boaz replied. ‘But I also know about everything you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband. I have heard how you left your father and mother and your own land to live here among complete strangers. May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.’”
- Boaz asked who the foreigner girl was and when he had heard that it was Ruth, he wanted to talk with her because he had heard of the goods things that she had done for her mother-in-law Naomi. Ruth was hard-working, loving, kind, faithful, and brave and these qualities earned her a good reputation. Did she do these things just so others would see her? No, her character was consistent in all areas of her life.
- How is your reputation formed? By the people who watch you at work, in town, at home and at church. Is your character consistent when no one is watching? A good reputation takes a lifetime to build but it can take a second to destroy. Being consistent in your work, faith, family and in all areas of your life can give you a good reputation. I pray that when people see you, they know that you are someone exhibits admirable character. How do we become a person of good character and reputation? 2 Timothy 2:22 says, “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” Allow God to be the center of your life and he will build your reputation for you.
Boaz: A Cheerful Giver
Ruth 2:15-16 – “When Ruth went back to work again, Boaz ordered his young men, ‘Let her gather grain right among the sheaves without stopping her. And pull out some heads of barley from the bundles and drop them on purpose for her. Let her pick them up, and don’t give her a hard time!’”
- Boaz liked Ruth and had heard of her good reputation. He knew that she was poor and was supporting her mother-in-law. He wanted to help provide for them. He told the workers to let her gather grain with them and to drop some bundles of barley for her on purpose. Boaz went above and beyond the gleaners’ law (Lev. 23:22). He was demonstrating kindness and generosity. He was a man with a giving heart. Out of his abundance, he provided for those in need.
- When it comes to giving, do we do it because we “ought” to or because we “want” to? Do you give out of reluctance or because you want to share with others who don’t have as much as you do? 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’” It doesn’t matter how much we give. What matters is the attitudes of our hearts when we give. God has given us so much so shouldn’t we in return want to give back to those around us?
Father, I thank you for the examples of Ruth and Boaz. I thank you that they showed their character through their hard work, their reputations, and through their giving. I pray that you will give us the zeal of hard work, a good reputation through our character, and the joy of giving to those who need it. I pray that our attitudes will reflect our hearts and that our hearts reflect you. Amen.