As we look at this passage of scripture from the book of Ruth, we see two important actions that go along with serving the Lord.
First, we see how Naomi is praising God for his gifts given to them thru the man Boaz. It is in his fields that Ruth has been working. Boaz has been so kind to Ruth and offered so much more than he does others that have come to gather the leftover grain in his fields. He has treated Ruth as he would one of his own workers. In the last verse of the passage we looked at last week, she went home with thirty pounds of barley. And, as we'll see in later verses, she comes home another day with twice that amount. The Lord has worked thru Boaz to provide for Ruth and Naomi. They both recognize the goodness of God and are singing His praises.
If we look back to earlier scriptures in this story we find Naomi feeling alone and bitter. But, look to these verses and we see how Naomi is beginning to see God's plan for her unfold. She is able to recognize that, although she has been dealt a tough blow in life, that God is forever faithful. While she has known all along that God does have a plan and would provide her needs, she is now able to begin seeing the plan unfold. What a difference it makes for her and how great it is to praise the Lord for His provisions!
The second point we see is that Ruth is a hard worker. Yes, the Lord is providing, and yes, Ruth and Naomi are deserving of all the kindnesses bestowed on them. But, Ruth isn't just sitting around and letting someone hand it over to her with no work done on her part. I see this as an incredibly important aspect of this story.
God does promise to meet our needs. He promises to always be with us and love us and protect us. However, he also gave us the ability to work, the ability to be responsible, the ability to sweat a little. When we pray to God for whatever it is we might need, I really don't think He expects us to just sit around and wait for it to be dropped in our laps. He expects us to get out and work for it, too.
For example, what if I am in need of a job? Should I just pray and pray and then sit on my sofa in front of the television set and wait for the phone to ring? NO! I must get out and do my part, too. I need to work and search the want ads, go to job interviews, mail resumes, etc. God gave us abilities and talents for many purposes and one of them is to care for ourselves and our families. Yes, He will lead us to the right job, but we've got to work WITH God.
My prayer this week is that I would never fail to praise the Lord for the provisions He gives to me and my family and friends. I pray I would always recognize it all as coming from Him and not because of anything that I did or think that I deserve. I pray that as I seek His direction and His provisions for my family that I would never fail to get out and do my part, as well. That I would take the abilities that He has given me to provide and care as He directs.
I pray that I would remember Ruth and, as God provided, she worked and she listened and she praised.