Wednesday, August 30

Learning From Ruth--Part 2: Working Toward Comfort

"May I continue to find favor 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 2:13 (NIV)


Bethlehem was a town unfamiliar to Ruth. Its customs, its people and their faith were at the outermost edges of Ruth’s comfort zone. She had made her choice that this land was to be a new home for her, and that meant she had to acclimatize herself to her new surroundings rather quickly! Ruth, recently widowed and distanced from her own family, needed a way to provide for herself and her also widowed mother-in-law. Even in her grief, Ruth knew that her first responsibility was to meet her most basic need. Ruth needed food, and she wasn’t too proud to beg for it.


To this end, Ruth came upon a field and asked the reapers for permission to glean among the stalks that were left behind. When the owner of the field, a wealthy and educated man named Boaz, came to check on his workers, he saw Ruth and asked his workers about her. They explained that she was a foreigner, collecting leftovers off the ground in order to have food. Rather than leave Ruth to gather crumbs, Boaz instructed his men to provide her with some stalks from the bundles as well. He spoke to Ruth and told her that she was permitted to rest with his maidens, and help herself to the water whenever she was thirsty.


Ruth responded with an attitude of humility and not entitlement. Clearly Boaz was wealthy, a man of property, and a man of charity. If this story were taking place today, I imagine that it would have played out very differently. Ruth could have attempted to manipulate Boaz by telling him of the recent tragedy in her family. She could have tried to take advantage of his good nature. But she didn’t. She set her pride and her emotions aside and accepted whatever help she could get.


Each of us, at one time or another, is tempted to let our pride keep us from experiencing kindness at the hands of others. When we find ourselves in a situation out of our control we refuse to lower ourselves to the point of scraping up crumbs, even if that’s all that’s available. Instead of facing our difficulties with an attitude of humility, we become defiant. Exclamations and questions like “This isn’t fair!” and “Don’t I deserve better?” tumble from our lips. We waste energy complaining about a situation instead of putting one foot in front of the other to forge ahead.

No matter what heartaches we face in this life, there is comfort to be found. Even when we find ourselves outside our comfort zones, God will make a way to ensure that we are comforted and comfortable as we rest in Him.

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