Key Verse 12
I. God is at work (and so are we)
Ruth was a Moabite. She was not of the family of Israel. Yet, she married an Israeli man who came to Moab during a time of famine. When her husband died, she had a choice to make - she could remain in her land and seek to remarry and have children or she could follow her foreign mother-in-law to Israel and support her there. She chose the latter.
So the Moabite, one of a people not on friendly terms with Israel, came with her aging mother-in-law to this new land. They were both widows and had no means to make money. So, Ruth went out to collect the scraps of grain in the field that the gleaners missed.
Were I in Ruth's shoes, I would have felt very much alone. A young woman in a foreign land gathering wheat with the other widows and orphans is a pretty dismal lifestyle. It paints a rather miserable and hopeless picture. Yet, none of this was by chance. As the story turns out, it was God's plan to bring about the royal line of Israel through this woman.
Even when times look dark and hopeless, I should not forget the almighty hand of God which works through events and through history. I can't sit back and wait around, though. Ruth had to make a painful sacrifice, work very hard, and persevere. Just as Nehemiah shows, hard work and faithfulness are the attitudes through which God can work in those who seek Him and His grace.
II. Kind words
Ruth gleans in the fields of a man named Boaz. When he first steps onto the scene, he greets the harvesters with a blessing. They all shout back one in response. He then asks about the young foreign woman. When he learns that she is the one who is supporting Naomi, he goes to speak to Ruth directly.
He speaks kind words, assuring her that he will provide her with safety and water. Now, when a stranger in authority stops to offer respectful words and praise to a person, it can turn a day into sunshine. At least, this is how I feel when such a surprising thing occurs. I am sure Ruth felt her fears crumble and fall before the words of such a man as Boaz. Maybe I should try to be more aware of others and ready to offer uplifting words to them, too.
Proverbs 16:24 - "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."
It's often easy to forget how powerful a word can be. Let's take the power of words and use that for good - for blessing.
One Word: A powerful combo - faithful hard work and kind words