Have you ever had a job where you were just going through the motions? Just trying to make it through each day to get your paycheck? God calls us to more. He calls us to pursue excellence no matter our circumstances.
As we enter the middle of Ruth’s story we see her doing just that, pursuing excellence, as she works in the fields. She is our example of showing a good attitude and doing your best.
Ruth is the devoted daughter-in-law of Naomi. When Naomi’s husband and two sons die, she realizes that she needs to return to Bethlehem for protection. Ruth is a Moabite (descendants of Lot), a beautiful foreigner. She begs to return with Naomi because of her devotion to her mother-in-law and her love for God.
They arrive at the beginning of the Spring harvest. Ruth begins to work the fields ‘gleaning’ the leftover grain. She is working to care for Naomi and herself. The work may not be what she wanted, it may be beneath her pay grade, but it is what is in front of her so she and Naomi can survive.
The work is hard and long, yet we don’t see Ruth complaining and grumbling. In fact, she works hard every day, picking up the leftovers from the field. I am sure she is not the only person gleaning from the fields. This situation is fraught with dangers from the other gleaners to the hired harvesters. To be a woman in this environment has got to be difficult.
The field Ruth ends up in belongs to Boaz, a relative of Naomi. God orchestrated everything so Ruth would be safe and not suffer. Boaz notices and asks about the beautiful woman working in the field. The foreman reports that she has a strong work ethic and this finds favor with Boaz.
He is an encouraging ‘boss’ and tells her to only glean from his field, to go behind the women for safety and to get all the water she needs. He even instructs the others to give her extra food at lunch and to drop extra grain for her to pick up. This reward is for going beyond what is expected. She shows that hard work can set you apart.
Ruth stays through the entire harvest time working diligently in Boaz’s fields. The barley and wheat harvest together constituted about seven weeks’ worth of work. In all this time Ruth’s only concern is to continue working to take care of Naomi.
Ruth is intelligent, strong, and loyal to a fault and I believe she was planning for the next thing to do after the harvest. I don’t know if she had the same thought as Naomi, but Naomi’s shrewd, courageous and persevering nature was reawakened at the thought of Ruth finding favor with Boaz.
The story continues (and I have not included the details) and Boaz does identify Ruth as a woman worthy of his attention. Ruth may seem like an unimportant person who is just looking to survive but God has other plans. Boaz accepts Ruth by redeeming her in marriage AND she is redeemed through children. In fact, she is the mother of Obed, the grandfather of King David.
We can never overlook the importance of our work by the size of our bank accounts, our popularity in the market, or our position at the company. God is looking at your heart, your devotion to Him, and shaping your character to be more like His.
Be filled to overflowing,
P.S. This excerpt is from my Book, CLARIFY 12 Principles to Illuminate Your Calling to the Marketplace.