Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side from the clan of Elimelech, a man of standing, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favour.”
Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter”. So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.
Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The LORD be with you!”
“The LORD bless you!” they called back.
Boaz asked the foreman of his harvesters, “Whose young woman is that?”
The foreman replied, “She is the Moabitess who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She went into the field and has worked steadily from morning till now except for a short rest in the shelter.”
So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with my servant girls. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the girls. I have told the men not to touch you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have willed.”
At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She exclaimed, “Why have I found such favour in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?”
Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother–in–law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
“May I continue to find favour in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have given me comfort and have spoken kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servant girls.”
Ruth 2:1-13 (NIV)
A wonderful reading, full of meaning in our lives. We could take a look at Ruth, but she has a whole book devoted to her, so I’m going to look at Boaz. What a wonderful example for us in our world. We read that he’s a land owner — a boss, you might call him — and he treats his workers well. He comes out to greet them and says “The LORD be with you!” and they greet back “The LORD bless you!” He treats his workers well, and they treat him well.
But there’s more. He notices this foreigner working behind the men. Not just any foreigner, but a foreign woman. She deserves no attention according to the culture of the day, and has less standing that one of Boaz’ servant girls. Yet not only does he seek out who she is, but offers to treat her as one of the servant girls, well above her standing.
There’s a lesson here. Keep an eye out for those we might forget, those we might normally look over, and treat them with a care and love that puts them above what they would expect. And do this not for gloating, not to share in any blog, or newspaper, but do it for the glory of God.
The musical offering today is one of my favourite songs — My Redeemer Lives — performed here by Hillsong. Personally, I preferred the version played by a group of my mates, but this is pretty awesome as well. Would love to hear your comments.