is skilled at handling considerable humor!"
-New York Times
is Sly, Wise & Funny!"
This, in my opinion, is the most powerful scripture in this entire book! It's a promise from God to us. This is the direct connection between God, our purpose, and the deepest part of our hearts. It is the tie that binds all three together. Because for all that you will do, all that you will sacrifice in pursuit of your destiny, for every tear that you shed...we have this promise. May God, who sees and understands every moment of struggle, reward you. Why? Because you've come to trust in Him above everything else. We talked yesterday about transitioning from the idea that this new pursuit is about us, to knowing that this work is about the lives of others who will be challenged and changed and transformed. This is the very next step in understanding the purpose that you are walking into. When we operate in a selfless state and a mentality that is focused on giving, then we must also focus our eyes on where the true reward will come from. No amount of cash can pay you for the tears that you have cried. Nothing can make up for the time and energy sacrificed. Only God can make those sacrifices worthwhile. And so we must choose now to look to that greater purpose for gratification and compensation.
I have a news flash for you. The moment you decided that you wanted to pursue the purpose for which you were born, you also decided to live a life of service. You are a servant to your destiny and calling. Thus, whether you want to really believe it or not, you are a servant to God. His love is so great for you, that your soul was marked with a divine purpose. So a turn toward that purpose is a turn toward Him. Here's the great news in that, He sees it all! Every moment. Nothing is lost to Him. When others have betrayed you, hurt and bruised you. When people have forced you into corners and tried to destroy your character. When you felt totally alone, you in fact were not. God saw every moment that you stood back up again, dusted yourself off, and chose NOT to return evil for the evil that was done unto you. He saw you choose mercy. And He has a reward for you! What Boaz was saying here is that there is only so much that a human person can repay you for any kindnesses that you have shown. As people, we are limited. We can only give away so many kisses, hugs, money, rewards and perks. And at the end of the day, all of those things can still feel empty. Our craving for love and our capacity to receive love cannot be filled by human hands alone. Why? Because human relationships are merely a shadow of spiritual things. There is a space in your soul that can only be filled by God. Flesh will never be able to fill what is accessible only to the spirit. And so we place our trust and focus on God who crafted our hearts to long for a love that only He can give.
Boaz describes to Ruth spiritually what she has done in the physical world, because our spirit beings are the most important and dominant part of life. She needed to understand that she was now functioning on a spiritual plain. She needed to know that the spirit is life itself. You cannot doubt this fact if you've ever seen a loved one who has died. Their body lying on a hospital bed or in a casket literally appears as the shell that it is. The spirit and source of life has departed, and we see clearly that the spirit IS the person and the physical pales in comparison. Ruth must understand that the life she has chosen is a life that focuses on the spiritual. Her decision was spiritual. Her transition was spiritual. Her work is spiritual. And so her reward will be spiritual. Let's pray:
Lord, as we begin to truly understand the decision that we've made in pursuing Your amazing destiny for our lives, we ask You to give us Your wisdom. Help us now to understand, not with our natural minds, but with spiritual minds, how we are to go forward. Draw us closer to You. Fill every empty space in our heart. Give us Your living water so that we will never thirst again. Give to us, Father, a full reward for the work that we are doing. Let us rise to a higher dimension in Your love, Your knowledge, and Your spirit. We look to You now, knowing that no earthly reward could ever fill us the way that You can. We seek after You. We desire more of You. You are the source of life. You are the living water. You are the greatest and best reward, and the source of every good thing. Help us to keep our eyes and our spirits focused on you from this day forward. Amen.
If verse 12 is God's promise to us, then verse 13 is to be our response to that promise. Gratitude. Pure and simple. And there has been a fair bit of talk about gratitude these days from many life coaches and media personalities. But I'm always surprised that when talking about gratitude, the main ingredient in the soup is always left out. Friends, gratitude is not mere appreciation. Appreciation is an act of acknowledgement, yes. But it does not require humility. You can go to any Michelin star awarded restaurant tonight and ask any waiter if their customers appreciate them. They will most likely say yes. Now ask that same waiter if all of his or her customers are humble, and they will beg to differ. You can acknowledge someone's good works without allowing those good works to bring about any change in your own heart. You can walk around with a bloated sense of entitlement believing that you are owed those good works. But gratitude is something different. When you mix appreciation with humility, that is when you get gratitude. Humility says that you are not entitled to the goodness that has been bestowed upon you. It acknowledges the goodness of the gift, but also acknowledges the fallible reality of who you are. In its truest and purest form, gratitude is an act of worship.
Ruth's response to Boaz's words is a full acknowledgement of the favor that has been bestowed upon her, and also of who she is. She is not deserving of this blessing. She is a foreigner. In essence she says, "I'm not like the other women here. I have nothing." Her gratitude comes from the place of her deepest need, and she recognizes that she'll never be able to repay him because her lowly state makes the gift exponentially more valuable. How can she repay what this means mentally and emotionally after everything that she and Naomi have been through? She cannot. And so these words of gratitude come with a level of weight that bares her soul. She acknowledges who he is by calling him "lord". She acknowledges what he has done for her. And note here that she does not mention the grain. For her, the gift is that he comforted her and spoke to her heart. By this, she interprets for him what this means to her. And finally she acknowledges who she is and why she does not deserve his gift. Ruth's reaction shows us exactly what our attitude should be going forward on this journey toward our pinnacle. Yes, we will serve. Yes, we will work and sacrifice. But we do so with gratitude because we are not deserving of the privilege to touch the very hearts of people.
Take this moment now to exercise your gratitude toward God. Tell Him what it has meant to you to see and understand that He has a plan designed perfectly for you. Tell Him what it has meant to you to hear Him clearly call your name and set you aside for an incredible purpose. Of all the people in the world, of all those who fought Him less, He chose you. Of all those who were more innocent, more capable, He chose you. What an amazing God! He sees our flaws and loves us still. There is a beautiful song by Kiera Sheard called Indescribable and it says, "You see the depths of my heart, but You love me the same." That lyric is so true, isn't it? It truly is a privilege to know and be connected to God.
One of the biggest difficulties we can have as people is simply allowing blessings to flow into our lives. A friend was paying a lovely compliment to me one day, and for every nice thing that she said I replied with a self-effacing rebuttal. Eventually she stopped her compliment, looked me in the eye, and said "Just say thank you, Darlene!" I was shocked, but it was a great lesson to me. Sometimes we force ourselves to be extra humble by refusing the blessings that are coming into our lives. But if there is anything that we learned yesterday about true humility, it is that it shines a pure light on the gift of the other person. False humility keeps the focus on you. It's selfish. And any person in a healthy relationship will tell you that knowing how to accept love is just as important as knowing how to give love.
In these 4 verses we see Boaz begin to act out the spiritual connection that has now been established between he and Ruth. He orders his life so that it reflects in action what he has told her. He has even made it clear to the people around him how important Ruth is to him, and he demonstrates to them how he wants her treated. I can imagine that he did this to clarify for any lingering critics exactly what he expected. But the interesting thing here is that we see that as he directs these things to happen, Ruth is one step behind him following his command and doing exactly as he's asked her. She does not refuse his favor in any way. She accepts it fully. We all know that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and so we love to be gracious and give. But if we reject a gift when someone tries to give to us, we actually block their blessing. And we cannot become blessed by blocking the blessings of others.
We have talked many days now about how God is planning blessings for us. He has wonderful things in store for you. And one of the most important lessons that I have learned through this difficult time is to see God's blessings as they come and take a private moment to thank Him for them. All blessings come from God. He loves us and wants to see us fulfilled. Some people have an image of God where He sits on an ominous throne and throws down lightening bolts. Nothing could be farther from the truth! God blesses us. That's all. He is not laughing sinisterly while striking people with disease and turmoil. We encounter those things by our own failings or by giving place in our lives to darkness. God is the actuality of love. And love gives. God is giving to you right now in ways that you cannot see or perceive. He has placed your name on a friend's heart to pray for you. He has placed your application on the top of the approval pile. He has caused someone to consider you for a promotion that you were not in line for. So who are we to reject the bounty that He has stored up for us? You may be down to your last dime, but God has got favor for you. When it comes - and it will come - accept it and thank Him!
One of the most difficult things that I endured in 2013 was constant mistreatment by one of my co-workers. This person was relentless in their pursuit to seize upon my depleted emotional state. In frustration, I cried out to God and told Him that I was so tired of being exploited by the worst of men. I needed to see and experience the best in men. I asked God, 'Where are Your sons? Where are the good men who serve You and don't hate women and seek out to destroy us?' God responded almost immediately. Within days, I had been given a dozen roses, expensive perfumes, generous blessings by all sorts of strangers! Men I didn't even know smiled at me warmly, opened doors, gave me gifts. It was a true blessing and it restored my strength and proper perspective. I could have refused those blessings, but these were God's sons, responding to His heart's desire. Something within them was sensitive to His call, and they saw an opportunity to show His love to me. God rewards us when we respond to His heart in this way, so how on earth could I refuse the gift and deny my spiritual brothers their due reward?
Look at how incredibly Boaz was rewarded for his blessing Ruth. We would not know who he was today if He had not responded to her in the way that he did. She carried the seed of faith within her, and he recognized it by the Holy Spirit. If Ruth had cut off this relationship by refusing the blessing, she not only would have cancelled her blessing, but Boaz's blessing as well. In the days to come, I believe that God will begin to pour out His blessings upon you. Provision is coming! Get ready! God wants to reveal to you who He is and confirm for you that you are headed in the right direction. And when these blessings come, move your ego out of the way and respond by accepting the love and favor of God into your life. Swing the doors of your life wide open to receive from God. Accept as much as He longs to give you. And don't forget - never forget - to tell Him thank you!
Ruth was such an incredible woman! So much of what she does is directly applicable to our lives today. We might not go to glean in anyone's field, but pay close attention to what she does next! After gleaning all day until night had fallen, Ruth beat out everything that she had gathered so Naomi would not have to lift a finger. In all fairness, Ruth could have worked in the field that day and then gone home to let Naomi beat out and process the barley. That would have been fair. And it's probably what most of us would have done. But that is not good enough for Ruth! Imagine a wife working hard all day, then picking up the kids, going grocery shopping, coming home and cooking dinner while her husband lays in bed paralyzed by depression. Her selfless act is truly from the heart. And it's an attitude that we can apply directly to our lives today!
And not only had Ruth done all of this. She'd also saved half her lunch for Naomi. I marvel at the level of loving care that Ruth gives to Naomi. What I love best is that Ruth has fully embraced the kind of giving that Boaz has shown her. How do we know that the amount of compassion in his giving is mirrored in Ruth's giving back to Naomi? Because she gives sacrificially back to someone more in need than she is. Remember that Naomi has been so broken by what's happened, so weakened that she told everyone to call her "Bitter". I have been hurt and depressed. I have met people who have fallen into deep depression. But I have never met anyone who was so deeply scarred that they asked me to literally call them Depression. Have you?!? Naomi has been completely crippled by her grief. But as exhausted as Ruth is after such a long day, she still finds strength within herself to give back in the selfless way that Boaz gave to her. She freely shares her blessing!
Friends, as God pours into your life, find a way to give back. Someone desperately needs to be uplifted by what God is doing in your life. We overcome by the sacrifice of God and by giving selflessly from the depths of our hearts! Giving is another sign of Ruth's gratitude. She cannot hold back. She is compelled to give. I can imagine her sitting earlier that afternoon with Boaz at lunch and thinking, "This is all so amazing and so wonderful that I must bring something back to Naomi because she isn't going to believe it!" And the wonderful result of her giving is that it pulls Naomi out of her despair. As mentioned on Day 12, one of the great perils of falling into self pity and despair is that it narrows your focus perpetually onto your own circumstances, which ultimately perverts your perspective. When Ruth gives back to Naomi, it shifts her focus back onto how great and limitless God is. Selfless giving is the door through which Naomi walks to become free! Giving is just that powerful. Your giving can help break the chains of bondage off of someone else. That is why it is critical to pay it forward as God begins to do amazing things for you. Your breakthroughs are not just so that you can relish in how wonderful it is to stand in your rightful place. It is imperative that you give back and share with someone the transformation that you've experienced.
Additionally, we should note that Ruth did not just tell Naomi about what happened. She brought back evidence of the truth that Naomi could partake in. And we must give back in the same way. It is not enough just to talk with people about the heights that you are rising to. We must provide them with something tangible and worthwhile that will help them to experience a piece of what we've experienced. That is what makes the difference. Like me, I'm sure that you have listened to many of the self help gurus that publish materials about how to live more fully. But how much more effective would it be if they allowed you to shadow them for a week and witness their every meeting, action, and conversation? To share in the experience of what truly lifts them up, and to see it with your own eyes, would change your life. This is the gift that Ruth gives to Naomi. She refuses to leave Naomi behind. By giving, Ruth is bringing Naomi with her. And Naomi willingly believes and rises too!
Friend, read very carefully this next sentence. Your giving is the fertile ground from which your breakthrough will spring. We have discussed how gratitude is an act of worship. So is giving. It is impossible to live a life of gratitude that is void of giving. This is why in verses 18-20 we see this mixture of giving, gratitude, and worship. These three principles are inextricably linked. Specifically in verse 20, Naomi is right in the middle of blessing God and expressing her gratitude when she is struck with the realization that changes their lives. Until this moment, Naomi and Ruth would most likely have spent the rest of the season working to glean as much as possible to survive the winter and plant a modest amount of seed on their own property in the spring. The ability of Ruth and her elderly mother in law to complete this rigorous work on their own would have been slim. And moreover, their chances of successfully perpetuating this work on any kind of scale into the future would have been very poor. Before this moment, the best they could have hoped for was to keep a small amount of gleaning and planting going to support themselves in the leanest of ways. The best prognosis was that they would live in poverty for the rest of their lives, but survive.
When Ruth takes into her heart and into practice the principle of selfless giving, it transforms their future. After the deaths of their husbands, Naomi tries to turn away both Ruth and Orpah exclaiming to them that there was no hope for the future, no hope for more sons, no hope for husbands, no hope for redemption. When they arrived in Bethlehem, no one mentioned any options of escape to them. There was, by all means and purposes, no solution to their situation. It wasn't until her heart turned to worship that the idea of kinsman redemption sprouted in Naomi. And because Ruth is historically attributed to be the first convert to Judaism, the application of this process to her would have been a precedent that would never have been tried or thought of before. And it was all brought about by Ruth's giving! With this new plan came hope, joy, a bright future, a course of action, and a strategy for success. They are no longer relegated to living on the fringes. They are no longer doomed to poverty. And it is all because of giving!
Friends, you have determined to reach your pinnacle. You have positioned yourself to receive the blessings of God. You have learned the principle of gratitude, so that as provision comes you are fully able to humbly express to God and to others the magnitude of what is taking place in your life. The completion of this circle of action is to give. Giving will set into motion the miracle that will catapult you into the fullness of your destiny. How can God trust you with the seeds of prosperity and fulfillment, if He cannot trust you to GIVE when the harvest comes? If you take all that I have written to you, and diligently apply it to your life, but neglect to give, everything you will have done will be for naught. After all, we are not reaching for what we can achieve with our own hands. When we long to reach our pinnacle, we are longing to soar far beyond the mundane life that we can carve out merely for ourselves. We long to catapult high above where we are. We long for something that is beyond ourselves. Giving connects us to that power. And without it, you may achieve some wonderful things, but you will never lift off into the stratosphere. Make giving a part of your every day life. You are now a servant of God and of your true purpose. Act like it. The gifts of God are there to give away, to uplift, to share, to encourage, to pick someone up out of the depths of despair. Give as if you would never have another opportunity to give again, then watch the seeds of brilliance blossom inside you!
Isn't it fascinating how Naomi has stepped into her power! Over the course of the end of the harvest season, she has completely transformed from the sad, helpless woman who arrived in her home town just a short time before. There aren't even any signs of her old life as a desperate woman escaping to Moab, dependent on her husband and sons to get by. The Naomi we meet here is an altogether new person, brought to invigorating life by giving, gratitude, and worship. And this new Naomi has a strategy for success. An actionable strategy is the thing that separates those who complete their goals from those who do not. Reaching your pinnacle will not hinge on success. It will not even hinge on failure. Why? Because success and failure are never final. We transition through successes and failures all of the time. Think about your journey through primary school. You passed tests, and you failed tests. You passed grades and possibly failed grades. Either way, there was a strategy in place that assured that with those successes and failures, you could stay on a path to completion. This is what a strategy does. It provides a step by step, actionable path for you to follow. It minimizes the blow of failures and tempers the crests of successes so that you don't become short-sighted, but continue moving forward toward your goal.
Here is the interesting thing about Naomi's strategy, it comes from a place that reflects the spiritual journey they are on. It is positive! In 2013, I learned that not everyone has a positive strategy that comes from a place of generosity, growth, love, compassion and gratitude. Some people have a strategy that comes from negative experiences or selfish goals. And you betcha that they can still follow and accomplish these strategies. But Naomi tells Ruth in the most straight forward way that this plan has behind it a positive goal. There is nothing sinister or selfish in it. You cannot have a positive pinnacle in mind and then use negative means to achieve it. The means must match the end. The bigger picture for Naomi is about giving and reaching their pinnacle in a positive way. Naomi is building on the spiritual foundation that Boaz sets into place. Naomi recognizes that Boaz has started a ball rolling, so she creates a plan to get Ruth into position to maximize what Boaz has started. And Ruth's response is key.
The injection of faith into any strategy is key in accomplishing your goal. Ruth is a stranger in this land. She is unfamiliar with what Naomi is planning. She fully submits to following the strategy, but she also has to trust that the plan will end in the way that Naomi has said is positive. Like Ruth, you may be launching into territory that is completely unfamiliar. It is natural to wonder what might happen as a result of your stepping out of your comfort zone. But as you move forward, you must do two things. First, you must put together a strategy that will move you from where you are to where you want to be. On Day 18, we talked specifically about asking for what you want. And now that you are not shy about fully articulating what you desire, you must put together a real course to get there. Action by action, day by day. You can reach your pinnacle, but it won't happen by accident. It will happen because you created a disciplined, step by step path to it. Secondly, you can't forget to place your full trust in God to make that strategy work. Like Ruth, you cannot know what is around the corner. Anything can happen. But you now have a direct connection to the Creator of tomorrow. The same God who has called you to reach your fullest potential can protect His investment. Though you do not know how this journey will end, you can trust that it will end in the positive way that God has purposed!
Reaching yur pinnacle is not going to be easy. There will come a time when you will have to step out into action that completely exposes you. No one likes to feel unsure or vulnerable, but that is exacty where you're headed! As a matter of fact, faith comes wrapped in vulnerability. It's from that sense of exposure that your comfort comes. The willingness to be naked is what produces the covering. Ruth has found herself in an incredibly complicated position. She has done just about everything she could do to prepare for this moment. She knows exactly where Boaz will be. She has washed herself, perfumed herself, put on her best cothing. She has in every way prepared herself to be seen as a bride, as a worthy recipient for the life that she is longing for. It's probably been a long time since she wore her most beautiful gown. Perhaps she made and wore it for the husband she once had. Can you imagine all of the thoughts, worries, and fears swirling through her head as she put it on. How bittersweet! Then she proceeded down to a place where she was not an invited guest. You will know how that feels too. There will be doors you must walk through that were not designated for you. You will go places that you may not be welcome. But like Ruth, you must go.
And then you must stay put until the right moment presents itself. You must wait far beyond the time that others may think is convenient or appropriate. Can you see Ruth waiting there nervously too? There was so much activity on the threshing floor that night. Surely a person or two noticed this stunningly beautiful woman lurking in the shadows. Perhaps she was recognized from her day labor, or even asked to leave once or twice. She was an outsider. A charity case. She was not supposed to be there. But she went, and followed her plan to the letter, until it was time for her to make her move. This was her moment of vulnerability. The action that she is about to take was not created for her. Others could have completely misunderstood what she was doing. The judgement that might have come down on her could have cost her life. So the risk she took was incredible. She lay down at Boaz's feet counting on his mercy. She counted on his seeing in her once again the virtue and drive that set her apart. She had no idea what to expect.
At midnight, Boaz woke up and he was afraid. And this became Ruth's moment of truth. Everything she had done, all of her preparations were set for this very moment. It was the moment when instead of her needing Boaz, he would need her. Friends, your vulnerability and faith are not for your own good. As we've discussed before, all of this is part of God's wonderful plan to use you to bring love and comfort to someone in need. In this moment, Ruth became the answer to Boaz's need. And you friend are also the correct answer to someone's pressing question. Someone is looking for you. Someone has a desire that only you can meet. Someone is crying out to God right now, asking and praying for someone just like you. When Boaz woke up afraid, Ruth was there. She had no idea that things would unfold in the way that they were about to. Naomi had not predicted this at all. Ruth had most likely anticipated Boaz reaching out in mercy. But this became Ruth's turn to show Boaz face to face what she was all about.
Your plan will put you in the right place at the right time, just like Ruth. You may have all of your talking points, presentation slides, or note cards ready...but prepare your heart too. Why? Because God hasn't prepared you so that you can beg. He wants to place you into a position where you are divinely revealed as the answer to someone's need. He wants to put you on display. He wants to present you beautifully at the feet of the person who is afraid and doesn't know what to do. And in that moment your talking points won't matter. Your presence and God's favor will be enough.
Isn't it funny how people can surprise you? Prior to this moment, we've gotten a fully fleshed out portrait of both Ruth and Boaz. Ruth is filled with faith and perseverance. Boaz is a man of compassion and wisdom. But the end of chapter 3 changes everything. No one is who they appear to be on the surface. Seemingly weak people can be strong in areas. Seemingly powerful people can be weak in areas. And so, in the middle of the night Boaz startles awake and is scared to death. Maybe he'd enjoyed a little too much barley the night before. Maybe waking up in an unfamiliar environment threw him off. Maybe he regularly suffered from bad dreams or night terrors. We'll never know. What we do know is that in an impromptu moment of crisis where an immediate need presented itself, Ruth was there for him. She was his answer, and she was at his fingertips.
The brilliant thing about Ruth being there in that vulnerable moment, was that it allowed Boaz to no longer focus on his problem. Her presence there allowed him to refocus on his mission, his gift, his area of strength. Now here I have a word of advice for men. I'm not a counselor or expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I have noticed a thing or two about men. Men operate best when they are in a position that allows them to show their strength. Women are not necessarily bound by this behavior. Even in bad times, the rare and unique beauty of a woman can show through. Sometimes women even thrive best as roses in the desert. But men don't often have this kind of flexibility. A man's bravery, strength, loyalty, wisdom can best be viewed when he has full confidence that he can successfully rise to the occasion. That is what allows him to transform from Clark Kent to Superman! If the problem is too overwhelming or too large, men can sometimes find themselves descending inward. And so my simple advice to men is that the best woman for any man is the woman who reminds him of who he is at his core. Not so much by her words, but merely by her presence. That is why in the strongest, most healthy marriages, the husband always regards how hard he had to work, how high he had to rise, and how great he needed to be to gain the admiration of his wife.
Boaz awakens in a moment of confusion and weakness, surrounded by darkness and silence, and Ruth's presence reminds him of who he is, his power, and his ability. All of a sudden he cannot be afraid because he must be brave for her. He cannot fear for himself because he must protect someone else. His focus shifts from seeing his fear and inability, to seeing his capability and potential. In this way, Ruth has shown Boaz a kindness even though she hadn't technically done anything. She was just there. The answer to his question was found in who she was, not in what she could do. Now I could go on and on about the futility of self-effort in comparison to what God can accomplish on your behalf, but you get my point! It's not about your effort. It's about the light shining from within you. We've all had great waiters and not-so-great waiters. The difference is not necessarily in the service that you get, the amount of time you wait for your meal, or how many times the server checks on your table. The difference between great and poor table service is more often found in the light that shines from within the person who is serving. Their sense of pleasure, joy and commitment engages us and becomes infectious. I'm sure that Ruth was fully mystified at Boaz's reaction in that moment. Here she was, prepared to beg for what crumbs Boaz was willing to give her, and everything plays out completely differently. Suddenly she is in a position to comfort him in a way that she is skilled. She doesn't even have to try. A comforter and caregiver is simply who she is. We know this because she's been doing this for Naomi to renown. Boaz now becomes the new recipient of her loving care. By the time she asks her lingering question, he finds her abilities too wonderful to resist. He now sees his own personal need for her skillset. There is no way he is sleeping another night without someone like her by his side! And by verse 11, he is encouraging her to "fear not". He is personally going to ensure that she has everything that she requires. Isn't that remarkable?!
This is the turning point for Ruth! Finally she can see that not only will she be ok, she is about to ascend to a destiny that she could only dream of before. There is coming a moment, friend, when you will see your brilliant future before your eyes like Ruth does here. God will allow you a moment of confirmation to dispel your fear and anxiety. You will have a small glimpse of what His plan entails. There will be no need to be afraid any more. There will be no need for the stress that has plagued your life. You will know...like you know your name...that your pinnacle is within reach!
What we truly behold in these verses is a contract. Not so much a legal contract in the natural sense, but a spiritual contract. Boaz confirms to Ruth that he will personally ensure all that she requires, and he gives her two things as confirmation: rest and provision. Now let's have an honest chat about your life and what this Pinnacle Project boils down to for you. Both you and I know that there are a lot of folks out there parading around saying that God has spoken to them, given them an idea, or called them to go and do some wonderful work. And then somewhere along the way we see these ideas and works fall by the wayside, and that boastful individual has nothing to say for themselves. For that reason, I always try to remain very modest about things that I feel God has placed into my heart. So how do you know that this pinnacle that you dream of really is something that is destined for you? Because God will always confirm with you in the natural what He has destined for you in the spirit. Boaz confirmed with Ruth his intentions, and then gave her rest and provision. So God will give to you.
First, Boaz is honest about what is about to happen. If you aren't moving forward with an honest word from above on the venture that you are attempting, then you need to head back to the drawing board until you have it. Naomi gave Ruth a directive and a course for action. Boaz confirmed that directive as true, and then gave Ruth a further course of action. Do you see the pattern? You should not be just flopping about willy-nilly expecting God to bless whatever far-fetched idea you may have come up with. If you do not have a confirmed word from God, then go back to your starting point, wait on Him, and get it. Remember, God has a divine purpose for everyone, but everyone's purpose is not the same. I have been called to act and perform, to write and encourage others. I've tried to do other things and it always ends in failure. I thought for a short time that my purpose was to focus on the finance industry work that I was doing in 2013, but you reading these words is proof positive that while I learned a lot from the experience, that was not God's perfect will for me. Don't repeat my mistake. Pray, and find out from your Heavenly Father what His mission for you is.
Second, Boaz commands Ruth into a time of rest. There is something to be said of people who are struggling too hard to have their vision realized. Yes, challenges will come. But if you are fighting against God himself, you will never win. You can no more hold back the tide, than create an opportunity where God has not willed it. Ruth gets her directive from Boaz, and then she follows his plan to the letter. And that plan was for her to rest. Friends, rest comes from obedience. She lays at his feet until he knows it is time for her to move. And that is so indicative of how this journey should be moving forward for you. You shouldn't be struggling against all odds. This shouldn't be an impossible task. After all, this isn't about you. It's about Him. God's plan is perfect and already complete, so why would He need your strenuous effort if He's already willed it with His power? Ruth has found a place of rest at the foot of the one who is ensuring her desires. You should be resting at God's feet. You should be poised to hear any words or instructions that He needs to give you. If you are resting anywhere other than at the feet of God, then you need to get back there right away. What does it matter what forecasts Warren Buffett says? Are the words of Bloomberg News more important than the word of God? Why are you resting at their feet? Have they taken personal charge of seeing your destiny through? Only God has, so go back to take your comfort and rest from the only One who can open any door, solve any problem, move any mountain.
Third, Boaz loads Ruth up with provision so that she has something to take back to Naomi as proof of his word. We've all heard the old adage, "Where God guides, He provides". And we've also seen people who claim that God has sent them to do some work and yet there is no provision. Why would God sabotage His own will? Why would He discredit Himself by sending you to do something that He has not opened a door for? I specifically use the word provision here because I want you to think outside the box of money. Sometimes money represents provision, but many times it does not. Sometimes the provision you need is an introduction to an influential person. Sometimes the provision is a positive recommendation. In any event, when God sends you out, He will provide for you. You may not have everything all at once, but you'll have enough to know that this is the specific direction that God wants you to walk in. You'll have enough provision to step out in faith. If you are operating with no blessing and no provision from God, go back to the drawing board. Go back to Him and listen again for proper instructions. His will is for you to move forward, believing in faith, and trusting in Him. That doesn't include you banging your head against the wall because you are trying to make something happen that was never your destiny. If I tried in earnest today to be a professional wrestler, it wouldn't be long before things started to fall apart because that's not my destiny. Use that analogy for your own purposes.
God will not approve a plan for you that doesn't come with a contract. That contract will give you a confirmed course of action, rest, and provision. If those elements are missing then something is wrong, and this is the time when you should go back to Him and find out your true marching orders. There is no shame in missing the mark and going back to the King for answers. The shame comes when we persist in actions and areas where we aren't supposed to be. That's when stress steps in. That's when illness plagues our life, and strife fills our relationships. Falling back into the arms of the One that created you is never a bad thing. It's always a positive!
(Ruth 3:18 - 4:4)
Do you have the patience to wait on God? When he commands you to rest, do you have the ability to stop, relax, and wait? I admit this is difficult for me. I'm a girl of action. I want to be an active participant in accomplishing my dreams. I don't want anyone to ever say that I was lazy or that I didn't accomplish my fullest potential because I didn't put in the effort. And so when God commands me to rest, I admittedly find it difficult. But here's the thing that I want to encourage you with if you are in a time of God-sanctioned rest. Rest is not inaction. Waiting on God is not the absence of action. Waiting on God is the ability of you to say, "Lord, I'm going to allow You to pave the way. I'm going to allow You to act." It's giving Him permission to be the great and mighty God that He is. You trade your ability for His, and that is a much better bargain. Boaz gives Ruth a directive to rest. Later Naomi confirms this directive and tells Ruth to sit still until she knows how Boaz has resolved it all. What do you think would have happened if Ruth had ignored what Boaz and Naomi had told her? What would have been the outcome had Ruth gotten up and headed down to the city gate intent on helping Boaz accomplish his goal? My guess is that she would have ruined it all. Everyone may have seen her not as a virtuous woman, but as someone who is nosy, hard-headed, controlling, or conniving.
Exercising patience is giving God permission to be as big as He needs to be in order to move you into your destiny. You cannot possibly see all angles. You could never see all aspects of any deal through. How are you to know what takes place 5 minutes before you walk into an office to request a business loan from a banker? How are you to know what happens at the home of your primary investor the morning of your big presentation? We have limits. God knows our limits, but oftentimes we don't like to recognize them. Even the most intelligent and accomplished people have limits to their knowledge, experience, reach and influence. And so, if God has prompted you to be patient and wait on Him, then do it. As agonizing as it may be to set your ego aside and wait, do it.
Boaz's plan is specific, and it is beyond the knowledge of Ruth. He knows the personality of the man who is a nearer kinsman than him. He knows the elders who will be at the city gate. He also has a desired outcome. I don't think for one moment that Boaz wanted Ruth to be married to that other kinsman. He doesn't act like that at all. He shows her so much tenderness and care that we see his attention to her is personal. If he was indifferent to her, we would know it by now. Instead, he is respectful of the tradition of kinsmanship, while implementing it to his advantage. He sets the situation up so that it plays out according to his will. And his will is to marry this young Moabite woman named Ruth! Boaz presents this proposal to his fellow near kinsman as a simple exchange of land. It's the opportunity of a lifetime to obtain a significant piece of land while foregoing all of the red tape. In this way, Boaz is able to test the intentions of this prospective suitor. Is he willing to honor the memory of their deceased kinsman? Or is he simply after superficial profit and monetary gain? You see friend, when we rest and allow God to have control of a situation, He is able to test and weigh the hearts of everyone involved. This is why your patience is merited. There is no way that you can see through to the core of a person and know if they have your best interest at heart, or if they are simply trying to get over on you. Only God can know. And truly, only God should know. We'd probably be less than merciful if we had access to what was truly in the hearts of others. We'd forget all about our own faults pretty quickly and seize upon them in judgement. But God asks that we rest instead. And that rest gives Him the ability to be powerful as well as just. God is your father. He wants to work things out for you. He longs to vet every person and opportunity that presents itself to you. You are His. And the gifts and abilities that are within you were placed there by Him. He has invested everything in you, and now He wants to protect that investment. Let Him.
Ruth had absolutely no idea what Boaz was up to. And she didn't need to know. Her victory and her access to the life of her dreams was not predicated on her knowledge or even her active involvement. And the fact that we don't read about her pacing frantically shows us that by this time she knows how to trust God. She knows how to rest. I challenge you to actively exercise your trust in God today. Don't allow your ego to push you into moments of involvement that should be left to His care. You don't have to arrange everything. You don't have to control everything. You can stay in your lane. You can rest and know that He has all of the details within His hands. There is nothing you can do that He can't do better and bigger than you can even dream or think. So let Him do it. Let Him be God. All by Himself.