Loving Amidst Differences - Ruth 2:14-17

Later during the mealtime Boaz said to her, "Come here and have some food! Dip your bread in the vinegar!" So she sat down beside the harvesters. Then he handed her some roasted grain. She ate until she was full and saved the rest. When she got up to gather grain, Boaz told his male servants, "Let her gather grain even among the bundles! Don't chase her off! Make sure you pull out her ears of grain for her and drop them so she can gather them up. Don't tell her not to!" So she gathered grain in the field until evening. When she threshed what she had gathered, it came to about thirty pounds of barley! Ruth 2:14-17

Have you ever felt like you didn't belong? Maybe felt like you were different than everyone else? Or, to flip the coin, have you ever met someone that was a little different from you.. maybe they were from a foreign country and new to your city, maybe they wore different styles of clothing or didn't talk in the same manner as you and your friends?

Whatever the difference might be, should it matter? Should we treat them differently? How would you want to be treated if you were the one different than everyone else?

This really is where Ruth is in the story at this time. She is widowed, she is living alone with her mother-in-law, she is living in a foreign land and is perceived as the "foreigner". In this time in history, the Moabites were stigmatized. She is poor, she must work in the fields to provide food for herself and Naomi. She grew up worshipping the idol god Chemosh instead of the one true Lord (though by now she has turned to the Lord). What a list of differences! My goodness, can you even begin to imagine how she felt? Wouldn't you imagine she felt rather like the "odd man out"?

Yet, even with all those differences, Boaz continues to offer kindnesses to Ruth. So much more than she could ever imagine. Ruth probably didn't know what to expect from these people in Bethlehem... people she had never met and were foreigners to her just as she was to them. From the way the scripture reads, though, I can't imagine that she ever thought she would receive the kind treatment offered her by Boaz.

Let's take a minute and go thru all that has been offered her by Boaz up to this point:

* Boaz tells Ruth to stay and work exclusively in his fields

* He then tells her to go alongside his female harvesters

* When Ruth is thirsty, she is to drink from the jars of water drawn by the servants

* In Ruth's own words Boaz has "reassured and encouraged" her

* Boaz offers Ruth food from his own table

* Boaz tells his male workers not to chase her off and to drop the ears of grain where Ruth can easily gather them for her own bag

Regardless of how "different" Ruth may have been perceived in Bethlehem, that didn't matter to Boaz. Her knew her to be a kind, loving and faithful woman. That was where he put his focus. Just as he should. In God's eyes it doesn't matter where we are from, what we look like, how we talk, what we wear, etc. It's what is in our hearts and in our minds that is important.

My prayer today is that I would always remember the love and kindness given to Ruth by Boaz. That this part of the story would serve as a reminder to me of how to treat those I encounter that the world would perceive as "different". I pray that I wouldn't fall to the worldly actions of treating them as if they were different. -- that I would never look upon them negatively or treat them differently just because they do not have the same background. I want to see thru all the external and love them for what is in their hearts and minds just as Boaz did for Ruth.

9 Thoughts Shared:

Eyeglasses & Endzones said...

Thanks so much for the reminder to love amidst differences. I have tons of friends who I don't necessarily get along with the best but I still love them because Christ loves them! Again, great reminder. Thanks so much!

Beth in NC said...

Hi Melanie,

I have never thought of this story in this way. On my blog I call my husband Boaz because I think of the way he has provided for me. I was "like" a young woman widowed at a young age (Isaiah 54) and now my Boaz has taken me in and cares for me.

What a great comparison to God's love for us.

Bless you!

Amydeanne said...

you know it's funny i've heard this story 3x now the past 2 weeks.. hmmm i think i need to learn something lol

Sab said...

Oh, that is a neat way to look at those scriptures! i never thought about it as that... differences. I always thought about it in how special Ruth was to help her MIL, and how God brought her and Boaz together! I love what you've talked about.

Yolanda said...

Amen Melanie!

Reflecting on "Circle of Life" I wrote on Saturday at Higher Grounds.


Meredith said...

Love it! Beautiful picture of unconditional love!

Laurie Ann said...

Great post, Melanie. The lovingkindness Boaz reflected to Ruth mirrors how Christ redeems us in so many ways. I love it!

LisaShaw said...

Melanie, this is a wonderful message. God bless you.

Debra said...


This is one of my favorite lessons in the Bible but I've always looked at it from the kinsman redeemer aspect. I love the way you brought about the loving in spite of differences...really gave me something to reflect on. Thank you, my sister.

Blessings to you this evening.