The rest of this week, we are looking at the story of Ruth. A story of love, dedication and compassion.
The quickest route to poverty in ancient Palestine, was to be a widow without a son. That’s because men had ownership rights. Welfare benefits and food banks did not exist. But the culture did have a provision to help the poor called gleaning. Since it was an agricultural society, poor people had the right to follow the harvesters in a field and pick up the heads of grain that they missed. It was a lot of work for a little bit of food.
When the widow Ruth arrived in Israel, gleaning was the only honest way to get food. So, she went to a barley field and gleaned. The owner, Boaz, saw her hard work and took three specific actions of compassion. He told her to continue gleaning behind his harvesters. He also allowed her access to the food and water arranged for his harvesters. Ruth 2:15-16 tell us the final thing he did, “As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, ‘Even if she gathers among the sheaves, don’t embarrass her. Rather, pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.’” (NIV)
Compassion often is arranging help for another. May we be compassionate like Boaz!
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.