Kindness does not go unnoticed. Kindness may be done in secret in such a way that no one knows who performed the kind deed, but the kind deed does not go unnoticed. Sir Nicholas Winton organized a rescue operation that saved the lives of 669 Jewish Czechoslovakian children from Nazi death camps, and brought them to the safety of Great Britain between the years 1938-1939. This man’s valiant efforts remained unknown for 50 years until his wife found a scrapbook with a complete list of the children’s names with their photo. This man’s kindness was not forgotten, but he remained unknown for 50 years. This is the story of true servant hood and humility. Sir Nicholas Winton counted “others more significant than himself.” (Philippians 2:3)
Ruth showed kindness to Naomi by sacrificing what was comfortable to her. Ruth left her parents, her native land, and the people she knew to go to a place she did not know and live amongst people she did not know. Moving involves change and it takes time to become adjusted to this type of change in our lives, even if the move is an exciting one. Ruth not only left her parents, she also left the culture with which she was familiar. She left Moab for Bethlehem not with her husband or her family, but with her mother-in-law. We have all heard plenty of mother-in-law jokes, but of all the people to move to a new culture, most would not pick their mother-in-law to move with. Not only would most people not move with their mother-in-law, most would not go with the same commitment expressed by Ruth in Ruth 1:16-18.
Ruth’s kindness did not go unnoticed or unrewarded. Due to Ruth’s kindness, Boaz instructed his harvesters to leave extra grain for Ruth to glean. (Ruth 2:15, 16). Ruth still had to work for the grain, but Boaz wanted to be sure that Naomi and Ruth were taken care of. This was not a free handout situation, but rather a generosity on the part of Boaz.
Ruth did not come to Boaz’s field by accident, but rather Ruth was directed by God. Ruth “happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz. (Ruth 2:3). The irony of the word “happened” is clearly seen as we continue to read this story we see how God orchestrated this meeting between Ruth and Boaz. Psalm 37:23 “The steps of a man are directed by the Lord, when he delights in His ways.” God was caring for Ruth every step of the way and watching out for Naomi too.
Not only do we see Ruth’s kindness and her willingness to work, but also we see her generosity. Boaz generously provided food for the gleaners for their meal, and after Ruth was satisfied she tucked away her leftovers and took them to Naomi. We see in Ruth her continual desire to care for others and treat others better than herself. There was nothing that Ruth was going to receive in the process of her kindness, but she willingly served.
How many people do we know that willingly serve with no desire to be repaid? There is nothing they want in return, but rather their desire is to serve others selflessly. The more we practice this trait the easier it becomes and the more satisfaction we receive just from serving; however, we must guard against pride in our serving. God needs to receive all the glory for without Him we would not have the ability to serve.
- In Ruth 2:3, we see that Ruth “happened” to come to Boaz’s field. Have you had a time in your life when God ordered your circumstances and you saw His hand working and a situation “happened?”
- Read Proverbs 16:9. The word “established” means “directs.” Have you seen your plans change and God “direct” your steps and it worked out better than you would have ever hoped?
- Why do you think Ruth was willing to leave her homeland and come to a new country with her mother-in-law?
- What blessing does Boaz speak over Ruth in Ruth 2:12?
- What is Ruth’s response to Boaz’s blessing? (Ruth 2:13).
- After Ruth worked all day, she had to beat her barley into flour. She had gleaned enough to make an ephah of flour. An ephah is equal to about 5.5 gallons which would be enough for two women to eat on for two weeks. How does God provide for those who are faithful to Him?
- What was Naomi’s response to what Ruth brought home after a full day of work? (Ruth 2:19-20)