8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Listen, my daughter. Don’t go and gather grain in another field, and don’t leave this one, but stay here close to my female servants. 9 See which field they are harvesting, and follow them. Haven’t I ordered the young men not to touch you? When you are thirsty, go and drink from the jars the young men have filled.” 10 She fell facedown, bowed to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor with you, so that you notice me, although I am a foreigner? ” 11 Boaz answered her, “Everything you have done for your mother-in-law since your husband’s death has been fully reported to me: how you left your father and mother and your native land, and how you came to a people you didn’t previously know. 12 May the Lord reward you for what you have done, and may you receive a full reward from the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.” 13 “My lord,” she said, “I have found favor with you, for you have comforted and encouraged your servant, although I am not like one of your female servants.”
There’s no denying it. Every day we are faced with the reality of differing cultures, differing opinions and differing perspectives on just about everything. We don’t laugh at the same things, admire the same things, contemplate the same things or mourn the same things. We’re all different—on that perhaps we can agree.
However, those of us who were raised in the western hemisphere possess a Western worldview when it comes to approaching pain and suffering. Our normal self-sufficient response is, “How am I going to get out of this and survive?” That’s not wrong in itself. However, here in the West we may sometimes do it a little too well—so much so that our personal strategy becomes the ultimate solution that drives us. One might say our identity often is defined by the success or failure of our well-laid plans. What we’re able to accomplish or overcome becomes who we are.
In John 15:15 Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, it is he that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” If you are a believer, you are an offshoot of who He is. Abiding in Jesus affords us a truer knowledge of His identity as the One who is in complete control, who operates with infinite wisdom and who embodies absolute love. This gives us an even greater understanding of the grace we’ve been given as children of God (John 1:22).
When we believe we are truly children of God and have been openly welcomed into the Kingdom of God, we will operate out of that identity. We will lay our plans, our dreams, our “fix-it” strategies or whatever we’ve got before God, because we recognize and fully trust that His protection and provision will be given just as He promises.
This is the beauty of the story of Ruth. Ruth saw herself as poor and alien. But when Boaz said, “My daughter, listen to me…,” his words gave her a better identity, that of one who was a beloved part of a family. He then gave her specific instructions. 1. Don’t go glean in another field. 2. Don’t go away from here. 3. Follow my servants. He promised her that he had taken steps to ensure no one would hurt her, and instructed her to drink of the workers’ water.
I cannot help but hear my Western thoughts in this moment. “You don’t know me. What if there’s more to glean in a bigger field out there? You could be holding me back. I have a plan, and this isn’t it.”
Jesus offers us a full inheritance in His Kingdom with all its promises, protections and provisions, if only we will believe in and follow Him. However, sometimes we’re so committed to our own plans, protecting and building our own “kingdom,” that we refuse to enter into His.
Because Ruth trusted Boaz, her kinsman redeemer, and did as he asked of her, she received his protection and provision. If we listen to Jesus, our kinsman redeemer, and walk in obedience to what He says, we too can experience His protection and provision. Moreover, as long as we choose to abide in His presence, He promises to bring forth the fruits of His Kingdom through us—just as He brought forth the fruit of His kingdom through Ruth.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Are you bringing forth the fruit of the Kingdom (Galatians 5:22-23)?
- Are you drawing close to Jesus each day through spending time in the Word and prayer?
Pray for the prayer lives of our global workers. Pray that they would seek and carve out time to sit with the Lord. Pray they would rest in knowing that God hears and answers prayer.