When the Lord calls us by the gospel (good news) of Christ to salvation, he places us in his people, his family, his new gathering, the church. When we repent and believe, we become partners in the good news. God equips each gospel partner to function in the church, and he expects us to fulfill our function, as we saw in earlier articles on 1 Corinthians 12. This requires cooperation with other members. We must all receive direction from the Lord (what is written in his word) and help one another in the mission that the Lord has given us; namely, to fish for people. Christ is in charge of the church and we all will answer to him.
In the story of Ruth, we read of a man entrusted with a task. We are not told his name, but he was a foreman under the direction of Boaz. Boaz wanted to know more information about Ruth, and so he asked his foreman, who made plain observations. He told Boaz what he knew about Ruth’s identity. He said that she was a Moabite woman. The foreman did not hesitate to point this out twice. We must remember that the law covenant separated Israel from the nations, though there is one human race. (The Bible recognizes absolutely nothing about different races among people. Racial prejudice and hatred come from non-Biblical and non-Christian ideas.) God had separated Israel from the nations out of love for Israel (Deuteronomy 7:6-8) and from Israel to send Christ and his people to all people groups (Romans 9:4-5; 15:7-13). Whatever thoughts the foreman may have had about a Moabite gleaning in the fields, clearly Boaz was not troubled at all.
Christ’s new people the church consists of those saved by grace from all people groups. Through Christ we all have access to the Father by one Spirit (Ephesians 2:18). Therefore, we must reach out to people from all ethnic groups, in order to show God’s glory in saving people from all nations in the Lord Jesus. Are you involved in this part of the mission?
The foreman also told Boaz that Ruth came back (same word as returned in 1:22) with Naomi. When we connect this with the information about Boaz in verse one, the story gets interesting! The God who is in control of everything has his hand on both their lives to bring them together.
The foreman informed Boaz about Ruth’s conduct and request. Ruth was diligent in her work. She worked steadily from the moment she arrived in the field. She was intent on her purpose. If she wanted food to eat, she had to glean. Ruth was bold in her request—to gather among the harvesters. Why would she ask this? In Bible times a reaper grasped the stalk with his left hand and cut the grain with the sickle in his right. As he did this, he would accumulate an armload of stalks, which he would lay in rows for women to tie in bundles. If the workers were skilled, little would be left in the field, except at the corners of the field. If the workers carelessly allowed too much to drop, they might be looking for work the next day in someone else’s field. So Ruth wanted to increase her probability of harvesting a good amount of grain. She is going beyond the law; she is asking for kindness.
How do you need to exercise bold faith where Christ has placed you? Your life is probably less than perfect; don’t be depressed or discouraged. Life was not easy for Ruth on this day of her life. But she lived by faith on God’s word. You and I must life by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, too, regardless of our circumstances. Instead of viewing your life as filled with problems, look at things differently. The Lord is giving you opportunities to rely on him, because when you are weak, he still is strong (2 Cor 12:10). He has promised to be with you always, which includes the trying and taxing times you endure. Rely on his presence and his power.
Grace and peace, David