Good mornin’! My name’s Boaz, I’m a farmer.
I’m someone who always enjoyed the simple things: watching the sunrise, the smell of rain, the heft of a bushel of grain, these were the things that brought me joy. That’s why I so loved Pentecost, the celebration of the end of harvest.
When I was young, I dreamed of more in life, but I’d given up on expecting anything extraordinary, like, say, love. But life has its surprises. I’ll never forget the day my life began to change. I went out to one of my fields to watch my workers. I
greeted them with the same greeting I always use, “The Lord be with you!” Probably the same way you good people greet your co-workers. And they responded, “The
Lord be with you!”
I noticed someone new in the field that day, a young woman. I asked the foreman of the harvesters who she was. He said she was the woman from Moab, the
daughter-in-law of Naomi.
I knew who she was, of course. Bethlehem is a small town, and the arrival of a woman from Moab was news. My country, Israel, had been at war with Moab many times through the years, though we were in a time of peace. Still, town gossips were not inclined to think kindly of an immigrant from Moab, but all were impressed with her faithfulness to Naomi.
What the foreman told me next impressed me even more. He said the young woman had asked permission to glean behind the workers. It wasn’t necessary for her to ask, God’s law made it clear it was the right of the poor to search for grain after a farmer had harvested a section of a field. Most didn’t ask; she was quite well mannered for a Moabite. And he said that she had been working hard and steadily for hours, taking only one short break.
Oh, I’m sorry. Some of you might not be farmers. I should explain a few things. Among other crops, I grow barley. My harvesters bring in the barley at harvest time and we then thresh it, separating the good grain from the chaff, the useless parts. And some glean after the harvesters, finding the good bits and pieces the harvesters might have left behind.
I knew I had to meet this remarkable woman. I found her in the field and introduced myself. Then I told her, “My daughter, don’t go and glean in another field. Stay here and harvest with my girls,and my men will not bother you. And drink from our water bottles.”
I didn’t want her to risk going anywhere else. I lived in evil days, and who knows what dangers a young, beautiful woman might risk among some of my
She bowed before me and asked, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes, especially since I am a foreigner?”
I told her the truth, “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 parents and came
to a strange land. May the Lord, the God of Israel, grant you His protection.”
And she said, “May I continue to find favor in your eyes. You have given me comfort and kindness, though I am not even one of your servants.” And she went back
At meal time I asked her to join me. I gave her bread to dip in wine vinegar, and roasted grain. She didn’t eat it all, but then hurried back to work.
I brought in some of my men and told them to make sure this young woman went home with a full load of grain. I told them if she should harvest among the whole sheaves, then don’t tell her not to. And I said, perhaps, if they were working ahead of her, they could leave some whole stalks for her to find.
After all were done harvesting (and gleaning), it was time to thresh, separate out the good grain. I watched the young woman, her name was Ruth, thresh her grain.
Though her hard work, and the intentional carelessness of my workers, she must have collected an ephah of grain. Now ephah in your measures would be.. Oh ..Um .. A lot of grain.
I went home smiling that night imagining the look on Naomi’s face when Ruth brought home from one day’s work enough grain to feed the two of them for weeks to
At home I thought in delight about the joy that Ruth and Naomi must be experiencing in their unexpected windfall.
I mentioned earlier the simple pleasures that God gives us in life. You know, I think that one of the greatest of those pleasures is the chance to serve others. But you must be ready when God brings those opportunities along. I am still so thankful that I didn’t miss the chance to serve Ruth, when God brought her into my life.