This second lesson from Ruth’s life comes from chapter 2 of the book of Ruth. We can learn from Ruth’s life that she took no thought for herself while serving her mother-in-law. Ruth was willing to consider Naomi’s need above her own, and she went beyond what would have been expected of her in order to do that. Ruth humbled herself to the mean task of gleaning. Gleaning was truly a tedious task. The gleaners in the fields were essentially gathering in the leftovers and the castoffs of the harvest. When the reapers went through, they were to leave that which was dropped for the poor and the unfortunate. God had made provision for this when He gave the laws to Moses:
Leviticus 19:9, 10 ~ “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.”
Those who did not have food for their own tables would come behind the reapers, and arduously pick up those few small kernels that were left on the ground. It was the least praiseworthy job in all Israel. And Ruth was willing to do it to help support her mother-in-law through their reduced circumstances.
As a mother, I am often putting another’s needs before my own! That’s kinda the understood duty of a mom. The kids need caring for and our of love and just sheer duty, we make sure they are cared for, fed, changed, bathed, etc. But I wonder about other people, outside the home. Are my eyes watching to be a helper? An encourager? A friend? Am I willing to help others?
Ruth did not consider going back to her life in Moab. She didn’t consider trying to find someone else the help her out, she shouldered the task herself. She didn’t take the easy way out. She showed she was willing to do whatever it took to help her month-in-law. Now we know the end of the story. Boaz takes notice, watches our for her, falls in love, marries her, and they live happily ever after. But Ruth didn’t know any of this. She didn’t know that by doing this menial task, she was paving her way out of poverty and into wealth. All she knew was that she and Naomi had needs that weren’t going to be met unless she took action. But we also see that in the end, God blesses her effort and her life is changed so much for the better! But before we look into all the blessings, stay tuned for a couple more steps in Ruth’s life. And watch as she stays faithful to God and faithful to Naomi.