Gleaning with Ruth

There is a lot to be learned from Ruth 2. At first glance, there are always the agriculture similarities, and they are just too good not to expound on. But, I also think there is much to be applied when we look at the individual attitudes of both Ruth and Boaz. Even in my current PR job, I can see areas that I can learn from each of them.

Growing up on a farm, we always saw our profession as a means of tangible generosity. For example, we butcher about two cows per year, and at least 30% of the meat is given away, either to a family in our community that needs it, to our pastor or employees. It sounds strange, but a box full of ground hamburger is a rather normal parting gift from the Holdridge household. But, as I read this story, I thought of an even closer parallel to Ruth gleaning in the barley fields. My family plants several acres of sweet corn each year. We eat a LOT of corn. Some summer nights, it’s legitimately the only thing we will have for dinner. We also freeze a ton of it. But my family is always sure to plant at least three times what we will need. Giving away our sweet corn is one of our greatest delights. My family has always seen it as a very tangible and physical way of caring for and blessing people. Anyone and everyone is welcome to take as much as they want, whenever they want. You could be a friend of a friend of a friend wanting to take a dozen bushels and my parents would still love to give it to you. I remember being a small child and not understanding why my parents did this, it seemed so odd. So many farms around us simply sold corn as part of their business, so it didn’t really make sense as to why we just let people take ours. But as I have grown older, I now see the sweet gift that this is in our community. The joy and surprise on people’s faces when we tell them it is simply our gift to them, is such a blessing to us. We are so thankful that the Lord has given us the ability and the means to do so.

For some reason, in all the time I have spent thinking about doing this, this story had never come to mind. So reading it today was kind of like a light bulb going off. It would just bring me so much joy to be able to provide for people in this way. I find so much fullness and joy in agriculture and farming, so if I could do what I love and feel like the Lord has placed in me to do, while also having a tangible way of providing for and ministering to those around me, I think it would be one of my greatest privileges to do so.

Another area of this chapter that really challenged me, was Ruth’s humility. Gleaning from the fields is no glorious thing. In my work right now I feel very much like I am being brought low; a discouraging amount — actually. I feel like I am doing nothing but failing, over and over. Failure is something I have always struggled with, my perfectionism just doesn’t want to leave any room for that. And it seems like no matter how much work I put into what I am doing or how hard I work at it, I cannot get the results that I desire or are expected from me. I want so badly to control my outcome, for my results to be directly correlated to my effort, but they simply aren’t. What a lesson to be learned. I need to be able to be brought low, ask my boss and co-workers for help and simply glean from what they have to offer. I can do nothing of my own will power; which, surprisingly, reminds me of my relationship with Christ. I have nothing within my power to be brought into right standing with God. Actually, even into closer relationship with Him. Although I tell myself I need to spend more time in prayer in His word (which is true), even in that, my being brought near is not a result of my effort, it is still something that He is allowing to happen in our relationship. Only he can change a heart. And I pray he molds it to look more and more like Ruth’s every day.

 

Image: Freeimages/Ian Dun

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