Now there was a wealthy and influential man in Bethlehem named Boaz, who was a relative of Naomi’s husband, Elimelech.
One day Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go out into the harvest fields to pick up the stalks of grain left behind by anyone who is kind enough to let me do it.”
Naomi replied, “All right, my daughter, go ahead.” So Ruth went out to gather grain behind the harvesters. And as it happened, she found herself working in a field that belonged to Boaz, the relative of her father-in-law, Elimelech.
While she was there, Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters. “The LORD be with you!” he said.
“The LORD bless you!” the harvesters replied.
Then Boaz asked his foreman, “Who is that young woman over there? Who does she belong to?”
And the foreman replied, “She is the young woman from Moab who came back with Naomi. She asked me this morning if she could gather grain behind the harvesters. She has been hard at work ever since, except for a few minutes’ rest in the shelter.”
Boaz went over and said to Ruth, “Listen, my daughter. Stay right here with us when you gather grain; don’t go to any other fields. Stay right behind the young women working in my field. See which part of the field they are harvesting, and then follow them. I have warned the young men not to treat you roughly. And when you are thirsty, help yourself to the water they have drawn from the well.”
I absolutely love the story of Ruth. Ruth’s story of love and redemption is such a beautiful love story and reminds me how much God cares for each of us, no matter our past. Ruth’s story reveals so many of God’s attributes for us to ponder. But one that astonishes me every time is God’s provision. I have walked with Jesus most of my life, but for some reason, I am still unreasonably astonished every time I witness God’s provision in the Bible as well as in my own life. I’m not sure it’s so much astonishment that God provides, but maybe more in the way He provides. While at times, God’s provision is supernatural, such as the manna in the wilderness for the Children of Israel, more often he uses people just like you and me to provide for those in need. In fact, after God rescued His people from Egypt in the Old Testament, one of the laws He gave them while they were camped at the base of Mount Sinai was intended to provide for the poor and foreigners who lived among them. In Leviticus 23:22, God instructs His people,
“When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the LORD your God.”
Now let’s take a look at Ruth’s story. Ruth’s story takes place within a dark time in Israel’s history, either during or right after the time when judges guided God’s people. In fact, we learn in Judges 17:6,
“In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.”
”Everyone did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” I imagine that taking care of the poor and foreigners was not at the top of most people’s list in those days. That’s what makes Boaz’s actions even more beautiful. Boaz was living for God. In the midst of a land where every man was living for himself, Boaz followed God’s instructions and through Boaz’s obedience, God provided for both Ruth and Naomi.
But what specifically did Boaz do? He obeyed God by leaving grain along the edges of his field. He lived with a margin in his life and friends, I have discovered that God does some of his best work in the margins!
Creating margin in my life creates space for God. Creating margin in my time, allows God to use me in unexpected ways during my day. Maybe it’s just taking a moment to pray with a co-worker who is carrying a heavy burden. Or perhaps having time for coffee with a girlfriend who needs a listening ear, or even extra time to cook a hot meal for a neighbor who is sick.
But the margin I learn about in Ruth’s story is creating margin in my finances. Boaz purposely did not use everything he made. He left a margin to help the poor and foreigners. And this margin most likely was after the offerings he set aside for taking to the temple. Boaz trusted God to provide for his needs and demonstrated this trust by obeying God’s law and purposefully providing for others.
This is something that God has been teaching my husband, Jeff, and I for years. While we give at least our tithe to our church we feel we still have an obligation to help provide for those in need. We are grateful that our church does a lot in this area as well, providing a thriving food pantry for those in need of food. But, we still intentionally leave margin in our budget every month designated to helping those that God places in our path. Yes, this takes faith and there are some months that it can place a strain on our finances. But the longer we walk in faith and trust God with our finances, the more we realize God’s beautiful provision for not just us, but for others through us.
What about you? Do you prayerful and purposefully create margin in your life? Yes, God is the ultimate provider, but He will bless others through you if you will simply trust Him…
Lord, you are the ultimate provider. I have witnessed your miraculous provision so many times in my life. But some of the sweetest times are when I witness your provision through your people. Those are the times that create sweet fellowship between individuals and lead to glory for You. Help me to prayerfully and purposefully create margin in all areas of my life, including my finances, so I can be your instrument in blessing others…
Today’s post was written by Michele Barnes.
Michele is married to the love of her life, Jeff. She has 3 grown children and 1 very sweet grandson! Most days you can find Michele laughing with good friends, writing, or working with women. In the evenings she enjoys spending time in a few creative outlets like creative lettering, drawing, painting, and pottery. She loves snuggling with her dog, Tebow, and reading. But one of her favorite passions is playing with her grandson and laughing at his bright smile! You can find her most weekends worshiping at our Real Life Clermont campus.