Summary: Sacrificial love is willing to lay down its life, and do the hard things that love demands, on behalf of another. This is the love that we experience in Christ and this is the love that we are challenged to live out with each other.
A Greater Kindness - Ruth 3:10-18 - March 17, 2013
Series: From Heartache to Hope – The Redemption of Ruth - #8
Let me ask you a question as we start this morning: How many decisions do you figure you make in an average day? A hundred? A thousand? Ten thousand? Any ideas? Any guesses? … It turns out they’ve actually done studies on this type of thing (which was a decision in itself!) and those studies show that the average adult in North America makes something like 35,000 decisions during the course of each and every day! That’s huge!
Now most of those will be relatively small and inconsequential. However, some are going to be of far great importance and they do have the potential to shape our lives. These are the ones we tend to wrestle with and agonize over.
A fellow by the name of Richard Bach once said this, “Some choices we live not only once, but a thousand times over, remembering them for the rest of our lives.” In other words, a decision that you make today, may direct, influence, or lead to consequences, whether good or bad, that will be felt for the rest of your life.
Those are the ones we want to get right, aren’t they? But we don’t always know what the right choice is. Aristotle once said this: “Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions.” That sounds like a catch 22, doesn’t it?! According to Aristotle, if we want to make good decisions, the chances are that we’ll have had to make some bad decisions along the way, in order to be able to make a good decision today. And to a degree he’s right – we ought to learn from our mistakes so that history doesn’t repeat itself over and over in our lives. However, that’s a hard way to do life.
I like what Anso Coetzer has said, “Decisions become easier when your will to please God outweighs your will to please the world.” The big decisions of life become easier, when we set it in our hearts to please God above all else - above others and above self.
Now why are we talking about decisions this morning? Because in our Scripture passage today, Boaz, is on the verge of making a life changing decision. Open your Bibles with me please to the book of Ruth. Ruth, chapter 3, and we’ll begin reading in verse 10, and we’ll continue with our series entitled: From Heartache to Hope – The Redemption of Ruth.
Ruth has just made a decision that will potentially change the course of her life. She has taken Naomi’s advice and gone to Boaz’s threshing floor. After Boaz has lain down to sleep, she goes to him, uncovers his feet, and then lies down and waits for whatever will happen next. When Boaz wakes up, he’s startled to find a woman laying there at his feet. In the darkness of the night he calls out asking a very reasonable question, “Who are you?” And Ruth replies, “I am your servant Ruth. Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer.” (Ruth 3:9) Again, like we talked about last week, that is so far removed from our own customs that we struggle to understand what’s going on, on that threshing floor.
But what Ruth has done, in the language that she’s chosen to use, and the request that she has made of Boaz, is to let Boaz know that she is eligible for marriage, and willing for him to act as kinsman-redeemer on her behalf. We pick up their story with Boaz’s reply in verse 10 ….
““The LORD bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character. Although it is true that I am near of kin, there is a kinsman-redeemer nearer than I. Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to redeem, good; let him redeem. But if he is not willing, as surely as the LORD lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.”
So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “Don’t let it be known that a woman came to the threshing floor.” He also said, “Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and put it on her. Then he went back to town.