So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.” Ruth 2:8-9
Boaz, the owner of the field Ruth is working in, arrives onsite and asks about the new girl, Ruth.
Gleaning was a part of Jewish law mentioned several places in the Old Testament. It’s a command to leave a portion of crops for foreigners, widows, and orphans to come after and collect. It is a reminder to the Israelites that they were once slaves in Egypt and now that they are free, they should look out for the less fortunate among them.
God made a way for the poor to support themselves and the more fortunate to be generous to those in need. It was an opportunity for dignity and productive work for those who otherwise would have to depend on begging, slavery, or other forms of exploitation. God put laws in place to protect and provide for His people.
All of us have areas in our life with abundance that we can share. Think outside of financial needs too. Have you gotten through a rough experience that you can share with someone in the middle of it now? Have you overcome obstacles in areas you can help others in the midst of them? Are you a good listener and can sit quietly with someone who is hurting? Are you a natural encourager who can provide that extra bit of support someone may be needing? God intended us to share our gifts. And God sends people to come alongside us to share their gifts with us.
Sometimes we will be the ones in need of gleaning, and sometimes we will be the ones with abundance to share. Let’s always have the courage and conviction to step into each of these roles when the opportunities present themselves.
Challenge: Where do you have abundance God may be asking you to share? Create a plan with ways you can share your gifts with others.