Ruth 2 Small Act Of Kindness
Ruth has a ‘lucky break’ of ending up in Boaz’s filed, yet the story hints that it wasn’t lucky at all. God often works in the insignificant. God shows up more often in the messy, incomplete, and unholy people than the super-spiritual people. In my own recent history, I see God working in and through me. In my attending and getting more involved at my church, my bible study group, my leading a study on the St. Francis prayer, my writing this blog, beginning my book, taking steps to become a pastor. God is in it all. I sure you also have seen God working in the insignificant.
Small acts of kindness have the power to knock us out of the normal and glimpse the miraculous. Boaz’s small act of kindness in 2:8-13blows Ruth away and Naomi out of her funk. Ruth is amazed and Naomi is excited. Ruth grateful for a safe place to gather food, but Naomi sees more wants more and takes steps to that end. Some might see the saying “God helps those who help themselves” at work in this chapter.
I don’t like this saying. It seems to imply that you have to do things clean yourself up before God will act, which is not true. God doesn’t require us to work for our salvation to clean our act up or to stop sinning before God will call us into his loving arms. The grace that requires taking steps to meet God halfway is not grace. Grace is free yet it costs something. It bids us to come and die to self yet this dying is not what makes grace work grace works in spite of any action we could take. Grace is free. Grace costs us our very lives not as payment, but as response to God. Yet, in dying, we are born to eternal life.
God is always acting always working for the best always saving and blessing this world. We simply have to wake up to where God is acting and respond to his saving grace.
Through Ruth, we see how a disciple of Jesus is to live not for our own sake but for the sake of others. Ruth was not gathering food for herself. She was doing it for Naomi. In the first chapter we saw how Ruth vowed to stand by Naomi and now in the second chapter we see what this means and how it works out. Ruth steps out in faith and God uses her to bless all. Without Ruth, there would be no David no Jesus. Ruth is the vessel by which the messiah-king will enter history. Ruth is an important character for both Jews and Christians. We find our common destiny in her.
In this chapter, Boaz goes beyond the requirements necessary of him. He is a good example of one with compassion, a servant heart, knows what it means really to love others. You can easily see in him as a kinsman-redeemer, which Jesus is sometimes described as.
Certain people are born with natural gifts of compassion, I say Boaz was simply doing what was in his nature what he thought was right. He was doing right by Ruth by treating her with kindness. He did what he figured anyone should do. He didn’t think what he did was special or unusual. He may be a foreshadow to Jesus, but Jesus is bigger greater and simply more, much more of a redeemer. Jesus does for all what Boaz did for Ruth.
What usually motivates me is what is in it for me. How can I get what I want by helping or being kind to this person? What will I get for doing this or that? Yet, the more I walk with Jesus the more I surrender to God’s will for my life the more I want to do what is right because it is right. The further I go the more I see that life is really about bringing a little more love and happiness to the life of another. I seek to be Jesus to others.
Hope is main theme in the book of Ruth. Hope there is someone else who will walk with me as friend and mate that there is more to this life than bread and water. The hope that God is working in and through me for my blessing and through blessing me will bless and save others. Hope is important, dangerous, and necessary.
Grace and Peace