Devotion: Ruth 2:14-16Our blog is a little late getting posted today because I had a member stop by this morning to discuss generosity. I had envisioned a different direction for the text today, but after that discussion I reread the passage and retooled the devotion. Boaz is generous toward Ruth and this is the point.
"And at mealtime Boaz said to her, 'Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.' So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, 'Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.' " -Ruth 2:14-16When we think generosity we usually think in terms of money. Generosity means freely sharing what money we have others, especially those we consider less fortunate than ourselves. Yet Boaz' generosity goes much further. Boaz does not simply ensure that Ruth (and, by her gleaning, Naomi) have something to eat, but he sits and eats with Ruth.
Some years back in my Oregon days I was talking with a retired Methodist pastor who was starting up a weekly meal program for the "less fortunate." We were in a weekly Bible study together and when we got to the new ministry idea I asked him what he and the others would be doing after they had prepared the food. He replied that they would be serving the people. That's a great answer, but something (let's say the Holy Spirit) led me to suggest that perhaps they could sit and eat with the people they were serving instead. We talked through the idea and he admitted that it would mean that they could not monitor how much people were taking as everyone would serve themselves like, "at a potluck," he said. Ah, that's when the light when on for both of us. Sitting and eating together creates a bond of trust. There is enough food, everyone shares, we do this together. Weeks went by and I did not think of the matter anymore. After what must have been three months the other pastor approached me after Bible study. They had decided to go the traditional way (we serve you while you eat) for a few weeks before the rest of the group agreed to try it his way. Immediately, the ministry began to flourish. It's about relationships and being generous in those relationships.
Boaz sits and eats with Ruth and she has more than she can even eat. He does not give her basic sustenance, but the good stuff. I have read too many commentators who claim this is because Boaz has a crush on Ruth. If he did, the text sure has a funny way of showing it. Instead, in Boaz we meet a man who genuinely cares for Ruth and ensures she has not just what she needs, but that she knows she is cared for beyond basic necessity. Even further, Boaz makes sure that she is able to glean more than enough for her and Naomi (and not just the leavings, but the good stuff).
What would it mean for you (and for me for that matter) to approach ministering to others as not merely an act of necessity, but rather as a generous giver who thinks not only of meeting a need, but giving the good stuff. I am convinced that this can only happen when we add our time to our monetary generosity. To prepare a meal for someone is wonderful. Even better, invite someone over and give your time in conversation and fellowship. Jesus did this with his disciples and this Sunday we will remember what he did as we sit at table once again in the Lord's Supper. I hope you will join us and be generous with your time as you sit and eat with others this week.
News for You:
- Operation Christmas Child boxes are available at CPC. The deadline to submit boxes will be Sunday, 11/12.
- We will begin sign-ups for Salvation Army bell ringing soon. This is a great ministry that goes to support the needy in our community.
- Youth Group Meals are needed. Our middle and high school youth group meets at Kurt and Jennifer Fudge's house at 6 p.m. The youth group shares a family style meal, a devotion and activities. Be part of the joy by getting involved.
- Evelyn Minnich's 100th Birthday reception will be Saturday, November 11, 1-4 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. Please join family and friends in celebration of this special milestone