Monday, November 16, 2009
Ruth 2:2, 8-16
2 And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.
8 Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens:
9 Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.
10 Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?
11 And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.
12 The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.
13 Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.
14 And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.
15 And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:
16 And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.
Looking for Work…Finding Favor
It’s a good thing to be a hard worker. Slackers aren’t appreciated in any culture. No one wants to be with, under, over or even near someone who doesn’t want to work. It makes the work harder. It can drain your energy and can ruin an otherwise wonderful day.
But, on the flip side, it is easy to slip into pride of work. When you think someone doesn’t work as hard as you do, it’s easy to start to look down on that person. It is also easy to slip into a mindset that you have to work for all you have and you run the risk of becoming too hard to receive anything from anyone. And the truth is you can’t earn favor.
Ruth has a message for the hard workers among us; its okay to look for and expect favor.
She went to the field of her mother-in-law’s kinsman looking for food, but also for favor (verse 2). She needed permission to walk the stalks and find grains left over after the professionals went through and harvested so she and Naomi could eat.
She wasn’t afraid to work for her supper, but she understood that there was a privilege involved that she couldn’t earn and didn’t deserve since she was a stranger. She went to work knowing she had to find favor in the eyes of the supervisor. She couldn’t offer him wages or a fee or anything. She had to be willing to receive.
Because Ruth was willing to receive grace and favor, she received more than she was looking for. She found acceptance (verse 8), appreciation (verse 11), protection (verses 9, 15), material goods (verses 14, 16) and a new spiritual identity (verse 12).
Eventually, she went on to be Boaz’ wife and the Grandmother of David and in the lineage of Christ Himself. She was looking for favor, and found it full of more than she expected.
Can you imagine how overwhelmed Ruth was to move from widow, beggar and stranger to bride of a wealthy man in such a short period of time? That’s how God works. That’s how God shows favor.
His love transcends our place and our background. It even moves beyond our work. His favor takes the unwanted, the cast down, the forgotten and turns us into the celebrated, the exalted, the sought after. He takes the broken pieces and makes us not fixed, but new!
Yes, our works matter. We are known by our works. Proverbs reminds us that even a child is known by his works (Proverbs 20:11). But, we have to accept that we cannot earn God’s favor. Sin has a price, but what God gives is truly a gift, and it is given by His choice, not ours.
Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.”
What happens to us as a result of our sin is earned like wages on a job. A worker is worthy of his wages, good or bad. But eternal life through Christ Jesus, well, that’s a gift; a gift of God, to be more precise. Hallelujah!
Will you receive the gift? Will you soften your heart enough to accept what you cannot earn? Whether it’s salvation or opening yourself to receive all the God has for you, will you accept?
A book came out years ago called Can You Stand to be Blessed? It discussed the responsibility of walking with God’s favor. Favor doesn’t excuse us from work, but it will change the work you do. The favor of God also changes who you are.
So, are you up to it? Can you stand to be blessed? Can you freely receive the favor of God? You can’t earn it. You only have to receive.
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Sis. Stephanie Robinson
Lifeline is the evangelistic ministry of Fellowship Church in Jonesboro, GA.
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Alton Watkins, Pastor
at 11:15 AM