A story of redemption, love, hope, and restoration
Grace: favor, blessing, and goodwill bestowed upon one who has not done anything to deserve or merit it. It’s the outpouring of unexpected, unearned literal or figurative gifts from one in authority or power over us. This was what we received from Christ in the forgiveness of sins and life eternal He offers, and as we learned last time, what Ruth received from Boaz in his extremely generous provision of protection and food. But for Ruth, did that mean she no longer needed to work? Did Boaz’s outpouring of grace provide for Ruth in such a way that she no longer needed to glean in the field?
Let’s find out…
“So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. … So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.”
~Ruth 2:17, 23
Even though Boaz was extremely generous with Ruth, he didn’t give her free handouts. His generosity was not like a welfare check that simply needed to be cashed, and he wasn’t providing for Ruth by giving her bucketfuls of ready-to-eat barley so that she could lie around all day. No! She still had to work for her food because his provision was out in the field waiting to be gleaned by her willing hands. Boaz’s kindness was in the fact that he was providing her protection while she worked, water when she got thirsty, and a place for her to work not in any way eliminating her need to work. Ruth knew this and was extremely grateful for it. So after her meeting with Boaz she didn’t head for home, but went straight back to gleaning.
Remember back a few posts ago, when Boaz asked his foreman who Ruth was? Do you member the foreman’s reply? Along with Ruth’s name and nationality, the head reaper also included the detail that Ruth had arrived in the field in the early morning and upon receiving approval had starting gleaning. Now according to the passage above, Ruth continued her work in Boaz’s field until evening. That’s a really long day of backbreaking labor! And even though she left the field at evening, her work wasn’t done yet. She still needed to beat out her gleanings and sift it to get ready-to-cook barley. But at the end of the day, her labor was well rewarded.
Ruth’s first day of work produced an ephah of barley, which is approximate to the measure of our bushel. This was a lot of barley for one who had to pick up each shaft individually in the trail of the busy reapers. So Ruth was faithful to diligently work hard and maximize the grace and favor Boaz extended towards her. And she not only gleaned in his fields that first day, but continued working to the end of the barley and wheat harvests, or for the next three months.
Now as we’ve looked at Ruth’s life and work ethic, the question for us is…what is our prospective on work? Are we willing to work hard even after meeting the Lord and receiving gifts from Him? Are we faithful to continuing working the fields until the end of the harvest?
Like Boaz did for Ruth, our Lord Jesus Christ has shown us abundant grace and favor. However, we tend to sit at home and enjoy it rather than continuing to work in His harvest fields. And this was not what the Lord intended for us! So let us learn from the faithful, hard work of Ruth, and continue on in our Master’s harvest fields, gleaning for His glory and praise!
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”