Thursday, January 29, 2015
Ruth's Work Ethic
I'm totally impressed with Ruth. I don't know that I would have given up my family, my traditions and all that was familiar to go to a place I'd never been....knowing I'd never go back. But she did. Not only did she follow her mother-in-law to her former home in Israel, but she chose Naomi's God. She gave her heart, soul, mind and strength to God... and to this new home.
Naomi and her husband and two sons left Israel during a famine to move to Moab. It was all wrong. They left a land God had given them to go to a land where idols were worshiped. While they were there, her entire family died. She was left alone with two daughters-in-law...from Moab. One daughter-in-law, Orpah, chose to go back to all that was familiar. But Ruth refused to go home...she was going with Naomi. Naomi pressed forward knowing she'd have nothing when she returned home. And Naomi was in a bad place. She was depressed and had become bitter. I imagine she was even having trouble functioning through a day.
And in steps Ruth. She knows they need to eat, so she offers to go and gather barley in the fields after the harvesters. Naomi agrees to let her go and God guides her to the field belonging to Boaz. I can imagine all kinds of things at this point. Ruth had no clue about the culture except what she'd learned through Naomi and her family. She knew she was going to stick out. She looked different. I'm also sure women were easy prey as they gleaned the fields behind the workers.
But she worked. I imagine she put her head down and got to work. She wasn't looking for favors; she was applying herself. In fact, the Bible tells us she took one short break that first day. And she gained notice.
I can't quit thinking about Ruth. She left all she knew and came to a land, a people, a God she didn't know. She didn't hide out. She didn't wait for others to come take care of her. She was motivated to not only take care of herself, but also her mother-in-law who was struggling emotionally. She didn't just go to work that one day...she worked all through barley harvest which may have lasted 1-2 months. The Bible says the women around Naomi told her that Ruth was better to her than seven sons!
I think Ruth has a lot to teach us. She was diligent, hard-working, motivated, and invested herself in her family and her new home. And Boaz noticed and married her. And God noticed and blessed her with a son...and included her in the lineage of Christ. Ruth...a Moabitess, a foreigner. I'm impressed.