We now pick up our story and it seems that Ruth and Naomi are living in the poor part of town. Naomi who left full (which can mean rich) is now struggling to just survive and find enough food for them to eat. Naomi tells Ruth about the welfare program that God established for widows, the poor, the sojourners and even orphans (Leviticus 19:9-10; 23:22; Deuteronomy 24:19) and encouragers her to go and collect whatever she can.
Ruth went hoping to find favor among the owners to be able to pick up the leftovers without being harassed by the workers. When you gleaned the fields you had to wait till the reapers were totally done so that you would not get in their way or pick up anything they were going to collect. Although the Bible said they had to leave some of the crops that does not mean that everyone did what they were supposed to do. To leave part of the crop was to cut into part of the owners supply and even his profit. Conflict would arise if you tried to get to close to where the reapers were so they were to wait till they had gone ahead before they began picking up the leftovers.
It was a chaotic and hectic time for the reapers and the pace that the reapers would have along with working in the heat would cause even more tension. Imagine walking up to a house being built and roofers, plumbers, electricians, painters are all there trying to get things done and you can come behind them and pick up the left over materials getting in their way. Not only that but Ruth was not the only one there to glean the fields and so there would be a competition even for the leftovers.
“She happened to come to part of the field owned by Boaz”
Again, Gods sovereignty in her life is demonstrated as she set out not really knowing where she would be going. She trusted God when she left Moab and all the gods she used to worship and even though life was difficult God was guiding her exactly where she needed to be.
Acts 17:26-27 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,
God is not surprised about the situation we are in and He knows exactly what needs to happen to make sure we are provided for. When you find yourself setting out not knowing where you are going you can trust that God is going to guide you exactly where you need to be.
Boaz the land owner shows up and some believe he would come riding up in a wagon or chariot setting himself apart from the workers.
Behold or Look is used by the author to let us know that they believe that this is part of God’s Sovereignty knowing that Ruth just happens to be in the field when the owner shows up. Some would call it luck or good timing but we know that God placed Ruth at the right field at the right time because God had a plan in place.
1) Kindness should be a part of your daily life
“The Lord be with you” and they replied “The Lord bless you”
The Lord be with you is like saying that the Lord is with you in your work. It was a kind gesture to begin his talk with his employee instead of “why are we not further along” or “are we going to finish on time” it was a way of blessing those who worked for him.
The Lord Bless you meant that they were acknowledging that it was God who was making the harvest bountiful and it also meant that they were praying for one another. Many of us would love to have a boss like Boaz but we have to remember that kindness is not based on how we are treated but our choice in how we are going to treat others.
What if our companies were run with Kindness? What would be the atmosphere of our work place be if we chose to be kind no matter how we were treated?
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless” Mother Teresa
You can change the atmosphere of your work place, your home, your school and your church simply by speaking kind words to others. We never know what someone else is going through or how their morning started off but if we have an attitude of kindness then it makes the rough days a little easier.
Kindness seemed to be a part of Boaz daily routine and that is what we need to do as well.
2) Kindness seeks opportunities
Whose young woman is this?
Our society is so busy with our own lives that we do not take the time to look around. Our electronic devices also cause us to not observe those around us as we focus on the latest article, sports update, face book status or even game. Unknowingly, we have become those who passed by those in need in the story of the good Samaritan. (See Luke 10)
I’m not sure why Ruth stuck out to Boaz since there was more thank likely others gleaning the field as well. Could have been that she was a foreigner or that Boaz was so involved with his workers he knew everyone. It could have been that she was gorgeous and was noticed by everyone.
Ruth was not looking for a handout she was working hard for herself and Naomi. Ruth did not expect others to take care of her while she sat doing nothing but worked hard to try and do all she could with all she had.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.
Just like the Good Samaritan came across someone on his path so we have people that God puts in our path to help. Not everyone in your path is to be helped because some people jump in your path just wanting a free handout. Jesus did not help everyone although He helped a lot of people. In John 5 there were a lot of sick people around and Jesus chose to heal one of them. You do not have to help everyone but you should help those who God has laid on your heart to help.
“A quick donation is cheap love. There is simply no way to tell whether a story is legitimate, or if a person will spend the money on drugs or alcohol. Supporting immorality, laziness or destructive behavior is simply irresponsible and clearly not a loving act. Scripture demands that we stand on the side of the poor, but it certainly does not tell us to give irresponsibly.” (Toxic Charity, Robert D. Lupton, PG 46)
One of the first things Boaz and his servants observed about Ruth was her strong work ethic. They noticed she only took a short rest knowing that the time to glean is now and it would end as soon as harvest was over.
As you seek opportunities to be kind with others there is a balance in all of this. In the book the Generosity factor by Ken Blanchard and Truett Cathy they talk about giving with moderation.
“To understand moderation, you have to understand extremism. Extremist care only about one thing. Making money is one example. Giving everything away is another. Neither pursuit yields any meaningful results. Extremist who only want to make money benefit only themselves. Extremists who choose only to give it all away can’t generate anything new to give in the future. Extremists caught up in either trap have no time for spouses, families friends or relaxation. Moderations means that you balance it all in order to benefit all.” (The Generosity Factor, Ken Blanchard and Truett Cathy, PG 56)
I say this because Christians seem to lean to one extreme or another. Those of us who have been burned by our kindness tend to stop giving all together and some believe that you should just give it all away which can be more harmful down the road. Sometimes saying no to one person or situation means you are saying yes to another situation you will be facing later.
Boaz did not ask Ruth to stop working but only helped her in what she was already doing. This is something we need to really consider as we are helping people that by having them do nothing we are actually causing damage to them and their dignity.
3) Kindness changes lives
Earlier in verse 1 it said that Boaz was a worthy man which could mean having wealth, a person of high character, and even a warrior. Boaz calls her his daughter which was a very loving term similar to what Naomi called her in chapter 1. Boaz rewards her hard work because he knows that she is taking care of not only herself but Naomi as well. Boaz makes sure she is protected and given water so that she can continue to work. He even invited her to sit at the table with them as they ate as a company and he asked the reapers to leave more of the harvest behind to make Ruth’s gleaning easier.
Ruth then ask Boaz why she has found favor with him especially since she is a foreigner His response was that all she had done for Naomi was talked about and everyone knew how much she did to provide for Naomi who could not provide for herself.
Ruth sacrificed a lot for Naomi by leaving her home country and by working hard changed Naomi’s life with her kindness and now Boaz is going to show Ruth kindness.
Boaz did not attach any stipulations to the kindness he was showing her because kindness has to be demonstrated with no strings attached or its manipulation or at least its bartering. If your kindness to your spouse is dependent on how they treat you then you are not demonstrating kindness you are only being kind for them to treat you kindly. If you are kind to your waitress or waiter based on their performance than you are not showing kindness. Showing kindness has nothing to do with what the other person can or will do for you but it is a choice to be a certain way no matter how you are treated.
Ruth had no way of paying back Boaz for all that he did for her. Boaz kindness not only helped Ruth but her mother in law Naomi benefited as well. Having plenty of food to eat cannot always be understood by us when we are able to get food whenever we want but to know that you were not going to starve through winter was very comforting and a relief only those with out would understand.
We know that kindness changes lives because it is Gods kindness that changed our lives.
Romans 2:4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
Kindness can change someone’s day but it can also change someone’s eternity.Kindness can be shown in many ways by using your time, your talent, your treasure.
Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Imagine what would happen in our families if she showed kindness no matter how we are treated.
Imagine what would happen in our schools if we showed kindness no matter what was said to us.
Imagine what would happen to our traffic if we showed kindness as we drove
“One of my goals in life is to be as generous as the portion of fries they give you at Five Guys.” Jon Acuff
We need to learn to be generous with kindness in a world that tends to be cruel and selfish. We need to look out and see the people that God has surrounded us with who we can show kindness to.
Who has God put in your path that you are to show kindness to?
How can you demonstrate kindness in your home, your work your school?
Have you thought about the kindness God has shown you and that you are to pass that on to others?