Like most families, our children are all different. My oldest son is motivated by money. He has a great work ethic and will work until the sweat is pouring off him in just about any job he has to do, but especially if he is getting paid for it.
My middle son is not motivated by money. If you offer him pay to do something, he’d rather not. But, if he is doing something for the Lord, he is all in. He is motivated by service. My daughter is motivated by... we’re not quite sure yet; we are still working on that one.
In our passage today, we get to see an amazing example of work ethic. No free ride here.
The first lesson we see is that Ruth finished what she started. Notice that Ruth worked until the evening then stayed longer to thresh what she had taken.
“So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.” Ruth 2:17
She didn’t abuse the kindness that she was shown from Boaz for she kept at it and stayed long.
Proverbs tells us about how a lazy man won’t finish what he started, but Ruth did.
“The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.” Proverbs 12:27
So many people today will start something with vigor, then get bored with it and start looking for something else. May we be the type of Christians that finish what we start.
The second lesson we see is that Ruth allowed herself to be accountable. Mankind in our rebellion hates accountability. I heard a saying once that rings true. “Those that are accountable to others usually don’t need it, and those that aren’t accountable to others are the ones that need it.”
When she got home, she gave what she had worked for to Naomi, and Naomi like any good parent wanted to know what Ruth had been up to.
“And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man's name with whom I wrought to day is Boaz.” Ruth 2:19
Our third lesson is that Naomi remembered to praise God for what had happened.
“And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.” Ruth 2:20
While it is true that Ruth is the one that worked, and Boaz is the one that showed kindness, it is equally true that it is God that orchestrated the entire thing. And it is God that gave Ruth the strength to work and it is God that had blessed Boaz with the wealth that he had. So it is super-important that we like Naomi don’t begin to think that we are self-sufficient and we remember that our blessings come from a Sovereign God.
Friends, when it comes to work, may we continually give our best for the glory of God.
“Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;” Ephesians 6:6
Ryan King is pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Westville.