Ruth: This Field

The book of Ruth is just 4 short chapters long, but it is a beautiful story of tragedy, loyalty, love and fulfilment. Naomi’s husband had died, and then her two married sons also died, leaving Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah as widows. Naomi, now desolate and living in the midst of a famine, learns that food could be found in her hometown back in Bethlehem. As Naomi prepares to leave Moab, Ruth, a Moabite woman, commits herself to Naomi and travels with Naomi to Bethlehem (literally, “house of bread”).

They arrive at the start of the barley harvest, and Ruth suggests that she goes to the fields and pick up leftover grain “behind anyone in whose eyes I find favour”.

Unknown to her at this stage, she goes to a field owned by a relative of hers called Boaz, and when he meets her, he says to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them”. (Ruth 2:8, 9)

Boaz (whose name means, “in him is strength”), we learn later in the story is a Kinsman-Redeemer, one whose responsibility was to “act on behalf of a relative who was in trouble, danger, or need.” He is a type of Jesus figure. Later In the narrative, Boaz marries Ruth, and she and Naomi are suitably cared for.

I am sure we have heard the expression, “the grass in the other field is greener”. The notion being that we might tire of what is available to us in our current situation (or field), and that just over the fence, a greener looking, more bountiful, field is apparently on offer.

Sometimes as Christians, we are tempted to look elsewhere for healing, provision (good teaching), relationships, etc. We may have been originally attracted by what was on offer, but now, maybe we are bored, or feel neglected and unsatisfied. The word today, is – let your eyes be on (this) field, because there will be abundance for our needs, if we are willing to continue working in the field to gather what is available. Ruth shared all she gleaned from Boaz’s field with Naomi, her mother-in-law. The question today is, are we willing to work to harvest from the abundance that is available to us, and share with others around us, what we have obtained?

*Image: The Gleaners by Jean-François Millet