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!”
So Ruth gathered barley there all day, and when she beat out the grain that evening, it filled an entire basket. She carried it back into town and showed it to her mother-in-law. Ruth also gave her the roasted grain that was left over from her meal.
“Where did you gather all this grain today?” Naomi asked. “Where did you work? May the Lord bless the one who helped you!”
So Ruth told her mother-in-law about the man in whose field she had worked. She said, “The man I worked with today is named Boaz.”
“May the Lord bless him!” Naomi told her daughter-in-law. “He is showing his kindness to us as well as to your dead husband. That man is one of our closest relatives, one of our family redeemers.”
Boaz. Naomi. Ruth. The characters in the book of Ruth are classic examples of good people in action. The gleaner’s law instructed harvesters to leave the corners of their fields for the poor to harvest. But Boaz went far beyond the intent of the law in demonstrating his kindness and generosity. Not only did he let Ruth glean in his field, he also told his workers to let some of the grain fall in her path. Out of his abundance, he provided for the needy.
Naomi had experienced bitter sorrows (Ruth 1:20-21), but her faith in God was still alive, and she praised God for Boaz’s kindness to Ruth. In her sorrows, she still trusted God and acknowledged his goodness. We may feel bitter about a situation, but we must never despair. Today is always a new opportunity for experiencing God’s care.
Though Ruth may not have always recognized God’s guidance, he had been with her every step of the way. She went to glean and “just happened” to end up in the field owned by Boaz who “just happened” to be a close relative. This was more than mere coincidence. As you go about your daily tasks, God is working in your life in ways you may not even notice. But even so, keep looking!
Perhaps you have a lot to be thankful for like Boaz. Have you chosen to be generous with all that God has given you? How often do you go beyond the accepted patterns of providing for those less fortunate? Perhaps life has dealt you some hard times like Naomi and you’ve lost people you love. Are you still looking for God’s hand in your life, or have you decided that he doesn’t care about you? Perhaps things just sort of work out for you like Ruth, and you don’t worry much about explaining it. How many “just happened” God moments can you remember? Will you choose to see it as luck, coincidence, or cause-and-effect? Or will you see it as God at work in the world around you?