THE HOUR OF SERVICE
#2 of 4 in a Series on Ruth
(The other parts of the series are found in Chapters 1,3,&4.)
Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 - This passage conveys a truth we see throughout our lives and the lives of others. There is a time for about everything! Each emotion and each circumstance has its hour in which to shine.
I once had a good friend named Edgar Cragle. There was an hour in his life when he worked for Wise Potato Chips and also ran a small country store. There was another hour when he nursed his wife, Beatrice, who was mostly bedridden for a long time. There was an hour when Beatrice died and Edgar mourned. Another hour found Edgar returning to his local church to serve as a deacon.
At about the same hour, Edgar met and started dating a widow named Elsie. There was an hour when Edgar and Elsie were married by me and lived happy lives together. Then there was an hour of sickness for Edgar followed by an hour of death. I miss this friend but I know he is enjoying still another hour in Heaven.
Last time we started
talking about the various hours in the Life of Ruth. We saw Ruth's Hour of Decision. She chose to follow her mother-in-law back to
SHE SAW THE NEED - -21
Because Ruth had stuck by Naomi, she was able to see the desperate state that she was in. She became aware of Naomi's needs. She saw that Naomi was both depressed and destitute.
As Ruth saw Naomi's needs, we also need to be aware of those around us. Perhaps someone needs encouragement, or salvation, or physical or financial help. Let us try to be sensitive to the needs of others.
SHE SOUGHT A SOLUTION - -2:2
They returned during Barley Harvest. Vs. 22
Boaz, a relative of Naomi's late husband, is introduced. He was a wealthy farmer. Vs. 1
Ruth saw the problem of poverty and requests that she be allowed to go glean. Gleaning was an activity of the poor. Vs. 2, Leviticus 19:9
Like Ruth, when we see problems, with God's help we should seek solutions.
SHE SECURED A POSITION - Vss. 3-8
God guided Ruth to just the right field, belonging to Boaz. Vs. 3, Psalm 32:8
Boaz learned about Ruth. Vss. 4-7
Boaz gave Ruth a generous offer. Vss. 8-9
SHE SHOWED APPRECIATION - Vs. 10
Ruth indicated how much she appreciated the kindness of Boaz
SHE SHARED HER REWARD - Vss. 11-23
Boaz showed further kindness and generosity. Vss. 11-17
Ruth shared the results of Boaz' kindness and her own efforts with her mother-in-law.
PRINCIPLES FOR GLEANERS
(This is a long outline and does not contain alliteration. I suggest you prepare a handout sheet to be distributed to your hearers.)
In Ruth 2, Ruth goes forth to "glean." To glean meant "to gather" or to "pick up." According to the Word of God, gleaners were allowed to pick up grain that was missed by the harvesters. See Leviticus 19:9-10, , and Deuteronomy 24:19-21. The gleaners were poor people, such as widows.
In a real sense, each one of us are gleaners. Today we will glean from somewhere and feed are minds and hearts with material. It is important that we gather from the right source, God's Word. Based on this passage, here are 8 principles for us to be aware of as gleaners.
1. WE WILL ALL GLEAN SOMEWHERE TODAY. Vss. 1-2
Each of us will go out to glean, whether we realize it or not. We will pick up things from others, from the media, from reading material etc.
We are not isolated. We will be influenced by something.
2. THE FIELD OF GOD'S WORD IS AVAILABLE Vs. 3
There were friendly farmers and hostile farmers in
God's Word is a field from which we can glean (Jeremiah 15:16, Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:2-3). We can gather Spiritual nourishment from this field.
3. GLEANING TAKES EFFORT Vss. 4-7
It was noted to Boaz that Ruth had been working all morning, with the exception of a little rest.
Studying God's word will also take effort. (Acts -11, 2 Timothy 2:15)
4. WE SHOULD CHOSE AND REMAIN IN THE RIGHT FIELD Vss. 8-9
Ruth chose the right field in which to glean. Boaz told her to stay.
The field of God's Word is certainly the place to chose to glean, and the place to remain. (John 15:7,10)
5. GOD WILL GIVE US "HANDFULS ON PURPOSE" AS WE GLEAN. Vss. 15-16
Boaz instructed his harvesters to leave handfuls of grain in the way so Ruth could pick them up.
As we search God's Word and ask for help, God will leave us all sorts of good things from which to learn. (Psalm 119:27, 97-104)
6. GLEANING BRINGS REWARD Vs. 17
Just as Ruth received a good harvest from gleaning in Boaz's field, we will receive a great Spiritual reward as we glean from God's field. (Jeremiah 15:16, John 5:39, Psalm 1:3)
7. WE SHOULD SHARE WHAT WE GLEAN WITH OTHERS Vs. 18
Ruth shared her gleanings with Noaomi. We need to share our gleanings with others. (2 Timothy 2:2, Matthew 18:19-20)
8. THE BIG QUESTION FOR US IS "WHERE HAVE WE GLEANED TODAY?" Vs. 19
Have we gleaned in someone else's field, or in the field of God's Word?