Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Word of the day: Kindness

My wife and I both read a bit each day from the "One Year Bible." Part of today's reading was the wrap up of the story of Ruth.

Old Boaz had heard of young Ruth's kindness to her widowed mother-in-law Naomi (Mara). Ruth could have dumped Naomi and done alright for herself back in Moab. Ruth was a young widow with no kids. She probably could have got by fine on her own back home. Instead she schlepped to Israel with Naomi where Ruth could count on being treated like an outsider. Apparently Naomi was too old to get out and glean in the fields as Ruth did. No matter, Ruth stuck with Naomi and went to work providing for her the best she could.

Boaz saw this and returned the kindness by instructing his field crews to look out for Ruth, inviting her to work the whole harvest in his fields, to leave extra grain for her to glean and even inviting her to eat with them at lunch.

Later, after the night on the threshing floor and promising to marry her, Boaz sent Ruth home with 6 measures (ephahs) of barley. This time the grain he gave was more than just an act kindness. This time it was his promise, his "earnest money" to Ruth and Naomi. His committment to get about the whole process of redeeming Ruth and marrying her.

How many times have I read about those 6 measures of grain without picturing it? It's quite a picture. That's a serious load Ruth carried home to Naomi. If an ephah (measure) was 3/5 bushel, Ruth went home to Naomi carrying over 3 1/2(!) bushels of grain. How did she get 3 1/2 bushels home on her own? My aching back...

The kindness of Boaz, the faithfulness and kindness of Ruth. I'll bet she didn't mind the load. Wanna bet she was thinking about Naomi all the way home?

There's another picture in this to consider.
The deal has been done at the Cross.
It's all over but the shouting.
In the meantime, we wait for the "closing date" and the return of the bridegroom.

"I come that you may have life and have it more abundantly. _Jesus_ John 10:10

Have some grain in the meantime.

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