God’s kindness flows like a nourishing river through the story of Ruth and Boaz (Ruth 2:1-23). It waters every page of the story so that genuine love grows in all of its characters. That love then produces a chain reaction of supernatural events as each character models God’s kindness. In the story, Ruth is a Moabite woman, living as an alien in the land of Israel. She had been living in the country of Moab when her husband died. Then, the husband of Naomi, her Israelite mother-in-law, also died. In kindness and loyalty, Ruth chooses to stay and serve her mother-in-law as she returns to Israel as a widow. There they meet Boaz, a relative of Naomi, who extends to them great kindness, and even marries Ruth. Here are some general truths the story teaches about kindness:
1) Kindness Reciprocates Itself – In the story Boaz learns of the kindness shown to Naomi by Ruth (Ruth 2:11). He extends the same kindness to Ruth by allowing her to glean in his fields. But she isn’t just allowed to glean in his fields. He orders his men to leave extra for her to glean. He also feeds her, and offers her protection. Kindness is returned for kindness. Boaz ultimately marries Ruth, saving her from the potential tragedy of widowhood in ancient times.
2) Kindness is a Character Trait of Godly People – Notice in the story that Boaz is not just kind to Ruth, but also to the people who work for him. Upon greeting them for the day, he verbally blesses them, and they return that blessing (Ruth 2:4). The culture of his workers is one of mutual respect and kindness. Notice that even before Boaz had ordered his men to extend kindness to her, they had already gone beyond what the law required by allowing her to glean from the sheaves when she requested to do so (Ruth 2:7). Boaz then formally grants that request later (Ruth 2:15), and orders his men to leave her extra to glean. When people choose kindness, it reciprocates itself, and grows among people so that the whole culture is touched by it in a positive way. Is there dissension in your house? It might be helpful to reflect upon the nature and frequency of the kindness that you extend to others in the house.
3) An Act of Kindness is Often a Falling Domino – Ruth’s kindness to Naomi starts a chain of falling dominos. Ruth marries Boaz, and they have a child named Obed is the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. Ultimately, Ruth becomes part of the lineage of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5-16)!
How has kindness impacted your life? How has your kindness impacted someone else’s? What dominos have started to fall because of kindness in the places where you live and work?