Have you ever had a Martha moment? You know when you have been working really hard serving and wish for some help and some recognition from others? If we are honest, I’m sure we all have. In our churches today, we have many Martha’s, many who truly have a servant’s heart and who work relentlessly behind the scenes. If you think carefully, you can pick them out, these are the ones who come early and stay late. These are the ones who are always serving, always there to fill in, and always give of themselves.
I imagine Ruth was one of these with a servants heart. We know she didn’t have to come back to Bethlehem with Naomi, but she did. She didn’t have to take care of Naomi, but she did. Ruth didn’t have to go glean in the fields but she does. When Boaz takes notice of her, she is overwhelmed and wonders why. To which Boaz replies, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been reported to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth and came to a people who you did not previously know. May the Lord reward your work and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wigs you have come to seek refuge.”
Though Ruth may have thought no one noticed, no one cared. Everything she had done, everything she had given up, everything she had endured had been reported to Boaz and he wants to bless her in return for her servant’s heart.
I want to encourage you. When it seems no one notices, God does. When it seems no one cares what you’re going through or is thankful for your diligent, hard work, God cares. He notices, He sees, and He is pleased with your servant’s heart and He will bless you for this.
As we continue reading chapter 2, we find Boaz does bless Ruth. He invites her to eat at his table and he (the owner, the boss) serves her, he purposely allows her to glean more than normal and instructs his servants not to insult her and in fact, to pull out some grain and leave it for her to pick up. By the time Ruth leaves to go home she has an ephah of barley, which is equivalent to about a bushel of barley.
I’m telling you, Boaz goes above and beyond. Yet, our God does even more for His own. As children of the King of Kings, He goes above and beyond anything we could ever ask or imagine. In fact Colossians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” And in I Cor. 2:9 we are told, “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him–” I believe it brings the Lord great pleasure to bless us, just as it pleased Boaz to bless Ruth.
When Naomi sees all of this she is amazed and wonders where Ruth has been. The ice around Naomi’s heart begins to thaw as she comes to realize that Ruth has been in Boaz field. Of all the fields Ruth could have gone to, she has ended up in the field of Boaz. Naomi begins to see the hand of God. For she exclaims, “May he be blessed of the Lord who has not withheld his kindness to the living and to the dead.” She’s come a long way from Mara of chapter one, praying the Lord’s blessing on Boaz and recognizing His grace.
Then Naomi lets Ruth in on the exciting news, that this kind man who has blessed them so, is a close relative. So Ruth remained in Boaz fields working each day until the barley harvest was over.
Not only has the Lord provided a way for two widows to survive, He has blessed them beyond measure. The same God who took care of these, is the same God we serve today. He delights in those who serve Him, so much so that He pours out His blessings upon them.
I have seen this again and again in our own lives. Serving in full-time Christian service is not always popular and many times things go unnoticed or seem unappreciated. Yet, the Lord who is faithful always provides and always blesses us beyond what we could ever imagine. Ruth may have thought what she had done for Naomi was unnoticed, but it was not hidden from God’s eyes. Her servant’s heart was noticed and blessed.
May we serve the Lord with gladness, coming into His presence with thanksgiving because we know He is God and we are the sheep of His pasture. (Ps. 100) May we serve the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength because He is worthy.