Can anybody find me somebody to love?
Come on, girls, we all know that song, especially the Glee version. I think more than we realize that song is the soundtrack to our hearts, the ones of us who are single that is, but Ruth teaches us to rethink our song choice.
It is noted that in Israel, the harvest begins in the spring. The people of Bethlehem, where Naomi and Ruth journey after the death of their husbands, observed God’s law concerning harvesting that is stated in Leviticus 19:9-10. “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest…. leave them for the poor and the alien.”
Long before Ruth ever found herself in the fields, God knew she would be there.
The poor and alien that it talks about in Leviticus, that was Ruth. However, she was able to provide for Naomi and herself by working hard gleaning the grain left by the harvesters. She followed behind those who were reaping the harvest and collected what they left behind. But there would have been nothing left behind if God had not commanded what he did in Leviticus. The hidden hand of God we talked about a couple weeks ago…. there it is, people. Long before Ruth ever found herself in the fields, God knew she would be there. He knew she would need food, so he commanded the people of Bethlehem to leave some behind for her. The hidden hand of God active at all times.
It was in those days of hard labor, humbling herself, taking whatever she could get, and doing what she needed to provide for herself and her mother-in-law that she caught the eye of Boaz. I know, you know this story. You have adopted the phrase, “waiting on my Boaz.” You have read that clever little saying that went viral on social media a while back. But the lesson that lies in the simple words of this story are so often missed. We get so caught up in the romance that we miss how it ever became a story at all.
Ruth wasn’t searching for Boaz.
Ruth wasn’t praying for God to bring her another husband. Ruth wasn’t concerned about having the love story we all endlessly crave. Ruth was devoted to doing exactly what she was suppose to be doing. Consider what she did. Instead of brooding over the loss of her own husband, she devoted herself to meeting the needs of her mother-in-law, to filling the void in Naomi’s life, to helping her the best she could. That meant leaving her home, her family, and her friends, moving to another land as a despised foreigner, and living in poverty and privation. And for what? Love and concern for her mother-in-law were her only apparent motives.
Romantic love or the hope of a husband were not her motives.
A part of me is so convicted after typing that phrase even now. I know sometimes love and marriage become my motives for following Jesus. Because if I follow Jesus I can then pray and ask for Him to bring me a husband, that love story I want.
But Ruth never made that her motive.
Boaz pointed that out later in the story: “All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people that you did not previously know.” (Ruth 2:11)
“All that you have done….”
It was what Ruth did during the waiting that brought Boaz to notice her. It was when Ruth was focused on doing exactly what she was supposed to do that Boaz noticed her. It wasn’t Ruth continuously asking God for Boaz. It was Ruth living her life and fulfilling her purpose as Naomi’s caretaker.
Ladies, what you do while you wait matters.
And imagine a man so focused on the Lord that the only reason he looked up to see you is because he heard God say, “There she is.” That’s the kind of man Boaz was, doing exactly what he was supposed to be doing. At the right moment he saw Ruth and asked, “Who is that?” This is the kind of man you want. This is the kind of man worth waiting for.
Some things to think about:
- What are you doing while you are waiting for your Boaz?
- Does romantic love sometimes become your motive to do things?
- Are you constantly searching for what you want, instead of doing what you are called to do right now?
- How can you become more like Ruth? How might your motives and priorities be different if you trusted God’s goodness the way she did?