“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 NIV)
The story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz in the Old Testament book of Ruth is, as for many people, one of my favorites.
The second chapter provides a compelling picture of God’s kingdom in the lives of the two protagonists, Ruth and Boaz.
Ruth and Naomi have arrived in Bethlehem from another country, having lost husbands and now, in that culture and time, depending on the mercy of Naomi’s people. Naomi is returning home; Ruth is Naomi’s daughter-in-law, and a foreigner and immigrant.
During the harvest season, Ruth endeavors to provide for herself and her mother-in-law by gathering up the grain leftover after the harvesters have come through. It was a prescribed practice in Israel to leave the extra grain that falls aside naturally in the harvesting process so that the poor would have a way of providing for themselves.
Ruth’s devotion garners the admiration of Boaz. Impressed by her commitment to Naomi and her work ethic in the field, he instructs her to stay in his field to gather the leftovers. Given the potential dangers of gleaning in strangers’ fields, Boaz’s offer gives her the opportunity to work in a safe environment.
And he goes one step further, instructing his servants to remove some of the stalks from what they gather and leave them for her to glean as well. I’ve long appreciated this as an example of going beyond the letter of the law in order to be faithful to its spirit
“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:9-10 NIV).
Here we get a glimpse of the kingdom in Ruth’s love, loyalty, and faithfulness to Naomi, her mother-in-law. And in Boaz’s kindness and generosity, and faithfulness to God’s Word.
God’s will performed on earth. And heaven smiled.
Prayer: God, sow seeds of love, loyalty, kindness, and generosity in me, that you may reap a harvest of faithfulness. May your will be done in my life today so that glimpses of your kingdom might be present on the earth. Amen.