Summary: Boaz acts kindly toward Ruth and Naomi. His kindness is used by God to accomplish God’s will.
Ruth 2:1-23 “The Blessing of Kindness”
Some stories are meant to entertain, while others are told to frighten. Memorable stories seem to be the stories that are not only captivating, but also teach a lesson. While growing up, I enjoyed Aesop’s fables like “The Tortoise and the Hare,” and Hans Christian Anderson’s story of “The Ugly Duckling.” These stories and others like them have powerful messages for the readers.
The story of Ruth can be a captivating story. With the struggles for survival, sub plots of love and loyalty, and a plot twisting happy ending it has all the makings for a Hollywood blockbuster. Yet, there is more to Ruth than merely a good, quick read. Ruth teaches valuable lessons and deep truths about God’s movement in the world.
Boaz is an example of what it means to live generously. He was a landowner and he had the means to help. He understood his responsibility and helped.
The law required that during the harvest enough grain was left in the field for those who were hungry to glean. Boaz went beyond that. In verse nine, Boaz states that he has given orders for the young men not to harass her. Boaz then tells Ruth that she can drink from the water the men have drawn. In verse 14, Boaz invites Ruth to eat with the harvest gang, and in verse 15 he instructs the reapers to help Ruth glean.
There are a lot of shoulds in our lives. We tell ourselves that we should help others. The church tells us that we should consider giving so much of a percent of our income. People expect us to act one way or another. The reader does not get the impression that Boaz was not acting to fulfill the expectations of others. His motivation was doing what he believed to be right.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, in whom the Holy Spirit dwells, our motivation should come from a list of outside rules. Instead, we are molded and shaped by the Holy Spirit. We are guided by the Spirit, and empowered to be God’s faithful and obedient servants. Our actions are birth in our hearts.
LOYALTY AND SERVICE
Ruth continues to be the display her loyalty to Naomi. Ruth goes out to glean the fields. When she is in the fields she does not ask for any special privileges.
Though Ruth works hard gleaning, she still cared for Naomi. After gleaning she beat out the grain and collected about thirty pounds of grain. She takes some and then gives the rest to Naomi.
We know that there are laws that encourage us to care for others, but Ruth does not appear to be acting to fulfill some written or expected laws. Her motivation, like Boaz’, comes from within.
In this story, Ruth helps the reader—you and me— to understand what it means to develop relationships that honor and value others, and serve them. This is significantly different from networking, or living with the premise that it isn’t what you know but who you know that makes you successful in life. Ruth is an example of being faithful and obedient to God.
I like the story of Ruth because it is so ordinary. There are no angels or visions. Neither Ruth nor Boaz hear the voice of God. Yet, God is moving.
I appreciated a statement that I recently read, “Coincidence is a miracle in which God prefers to remain anonymous.” That is clearly demonstrated in this story.
• In verse 3 we read, “As it happened, she came to the part of the field belonging to Boaz.
• Later inverse 4 we read, “Just then Boaz came from Bethlehem.
Naomi, who once said that the Lord had dealt bitterly with her, recognizes that God is at work in the situation. In verse 20 Naomi says, “Blessed be he by the Lord whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” God is moving in the ordinary.
So often we find ourselves asking, “Where is God?” With the eyes of faith, we are able to see God’s presence and movement in our lives. God is in the people who pray. God is with the person who shares or helps. God moves in simple acts of love.
Like Ruth, our lives are stories. People are looking at us and reading our lives. As they do this, may people see lives of generosity and loyalty. May they see God reflected in our words and actions.