Snapshots: Day 155
The Snapshot: “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.” (Ruth 2:2) There are two very simple but profound thoughts that flow from this verse. First, Ruth had learnt the ways of her mother-in-law’s people. She knew it was harvest time and she knew there was this practice of the needy being allowed to go out and follow the harvesters and collect grain from the left-overs in the field. (Lev 23:22). Second, she was clearly a worker. The epitome of such a worker has surely got to be seen in Prov 31:10-31. Industrious is not the word for it! But it was this understanding the godly culture of God’s people and a willingness to work into it that opened the door for all the good that was to follow. Do these two things speak to us today?
Further Consideration: Let’s pick up these two threads: learning the culture and a willingness to work, two things we see in Ruth. First, learning the culture. Culture is about ways of life and when we come to Christ we leave behind the old life that was sin-and-self dominated and move into a completely new lifestyle (at least that is how it is supposed to be). Read Eph 2:1-10 and study the contrasts between the two lives. Now the new believer finds this all very strange and different and so learning and teaching become two of the basic and fundamental goals for them, to find out about Christ more fully, to find out “the incomparable riches of his grace,” (Eph 2:7) what he has achieved for us and what we can expect now as children of God. It is a long-term learning project and does not come quickly. It is why we encourage new believers to start reading a Bible, especially the New Testament in the early days, to learn these things. It is why we encourage new believers to be part of the congregation and learn from the teachers or the Church who can help us along the way. ‘Learning the Culture’.
But then there is this willingness to work. This learning the culture takes time and effort, learning what Christ wants of me takes time and effort, learning what giftings I have that he wants to put to use in the kingdom of God takes time and effort. Being available to be there for, and to love and bless, the people of God takes effort. Learning to be there for the family, for friends, for the world round about me, takes time and effort and that effort is work. We are called disciples, followers of a Master, Jesus, and we are called to follow him as he continues to serve His Father, working to draw men and women to himself. That requires time and effort, that is work. Now work is sometimes tiring and we need sustenance (His word and His Spirit and encouragement of others) and work can get tiring and we need to learn perseverance, patience, and endurance, things that keep us going. May it be so.