Above and Beyond

Above and Beyond Ruth 2:15-16   No, this devotion isn’t about the latest super hero movie, my personal eating habits, or even akin to some giant bath-mat store; it’s a different type of above and beyond. It is about doing more than the bare minimum. All around us are minimum requirements, the barest of the bare in expectations. The ‘if you can’t even do this right, you’re fired’, type of expectations. I find in our current culture many people do their dead-level best not to go above the bare minimum. I suppose we could chalk it up to laziness, entitlement or any other of our social ills but the result is the same – the bare minimum to get by. In our passage, after Ruth expresses her gratitude for Boaz’s kindness she gets back to work. What he does next is very interesting. “And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: And...
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Thank you

Thank you Ruth 2:10-14   I have to admit, there are certain things that irk me: some more than others. One of the most irksome things I find is a lack of appreciation. I just want people to say thank you. It doesn’t have to be over the top, I don’t need homemade cards made with expensive card stock and $3 stickers, I just want a thank you. I know that I can get a tad ridiculous about this, for I tend to get very irritated when I let a jaywalker cross the street and he doesn’t even acknowledge my kindness for not mowing him down. And if I open the door for someone? When they march through without so much as even a nod of the head as a thank you, my fleshly temptation is to stick out my foot and trip them, but I haven’t – yet. Thus far in our narrative, we have seen Boaz extend kindness to Ruth. I want...
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Man up!

Man up! Ruth 2:8-9   The news was awash with another scandal recently. In British Columbia, a popular high school teacher was suspended for duct taping shut four student’s mouths. In four separate situations, students aged 14-18 were talking loudly and were given a choice by the teacher: go the principal’s office or take this tape and put it across your mouth. In each case the student chose to tape his/her own mouth shut rather than trudge down the hall. I would imagine that the other student would think that was funny – I know I would. But the higher ups didn’t, and now she is being disciplined. Social media was outraged with many commenters’ wondering what recourse teacher’s have now-a-days. The tape while perhaps not super-appropriate was creative none-the-less. But the bigger issue was the behaviour of students and the red tape that ties teacher’s hands from discipline. There is becoming a wider and wider gap between actions and consequences for young people...
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Gracious Words

Gracious Words Ruth 1:4-7   “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Colossians 4:6   You can tell much about a person’s character in how they speak to those who they don’t have to impress. When I was 16, I and a friend were going through the drive-through at Dairy Queen; I was an impatient lad and when the fuzzy voice on the other end of the speaker kept getting our order mixed up, I answered her rudely. To my horror, at the window it was a popular girl at school who knew I was a Christian! She even remarked how rude I was, and I never forgot that lesson. Enter Boaz. He is the hero in the story. We saw how Ruth’s ‘hap’ was to land on one of Boaz’ fields, and now he shows up on the scene. In Boaz’s case, this instance sets the tone for the remainder of the...
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The Hap

The Hap Ruth 2:1-3   There is a beautiful principle found in the first three verses of the book of Ruth, the principle of the Hap. Let me explain. Ruth and Naomi land in Bethlehem, but completely at the mercy of society. As widowed women, they didn’t have much going for them, and Ruth was a pagan to add insult to injury. The law provided a type of ancient welfare system where the owners of fields had to leave the corners un-harvested. This would allow the poor to go work for themselves, but have opportunity to eat. And so in verse 2, Ruth heads out to work. “And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.” Ruth 2:2 And verse 3 explains whose field she landed in. “And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and...
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The Conquering Hero

The Conquering Hero Ruth 2:1   Most movies have a hero, and every romantic movie has its hero who rescues in some way the damsel in distress. He swoops in when all hope is lost and ensues in an epic battle between our hero and his antagonist. This is similar to how I view myself when I step on a bug for my wife. The book of Ruth is no different. In chapter 1 we were introduced to Ruth and Naomi in a time of tragedy. Today we are introduced to our hero in a time of hope and excitement. Verse 1 introduces to us our hero. “And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz.” Ruth 1. The term ‘kinsmen’ or ‘kinsman’ is found just over 20 times in our Bible, and the vast majority of those are in the book of Ruth. A kinsmen in the Bible was a male relative who...
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The Barley Harvest

The Barley Harvest Ruth 1:19-22   Because of our man-centered viewpoint, we tend to view God through a distorted lens. Often times, we’ll lament, “Why isn’t God working in my life?” This is actually the wrong question. The right question would be, “How is God working in my life and why can’t I see it?” There is a truth here; that God is ALWAYS working in me to produce Christ-likeness – even when I can’t see it. As Naomi trudged back to Bethlehem (The city of Bread) with Ruth happily in tow, they just happened to arrive at the beginning of barley harvest. “So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.” Ruth 1:22 There is a wonderful scene to behold here which mirrors our truth: God does not leave his people in famine forever, and He is always working in our lives. This is...
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Bitter Hearts, Bitter Tongues

Bitter hearts, bitter tongues Ruth 1:19-21   My daughter is boy-crazy. This will cause heart palpitations for any father, but mine are increased because my daughter just turned 6. We’re not sure where she gets it from... we’re careful with what she watches on TV, etc. Right now has her whole life planned out and part of that plan resides another little boy in her Sunday School class. He sat by her once so in her mind this was an expression of his undying and eternal love. When she declared her marriage plans around the dining room table, my middle son tried to burst her bubble, “He doesn’t even like you”. Nonplussed my daughter confidently replied, “He will, I’ll change his mind.” Have you ever had your life planned out and had it not turn out? Or maybe you have uttered the disbelieving words, “This is not how it was supposed to happen?” Naomi’s life was complete -  or so she thought. She was married,...
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I Do

I Do Ruth 1:15-18   When I was little, I had a stuttering problem, and it was bad enough for me to go to speech therapy while in school. While in general conversation it has cleared up, enough of it is still around to plague me – especially when I am nervous. When I have to speak in front of large or strange crowds, I have difficulty getting that first word out – and it is most noticeable when the word I am trying to say starts with a vowel. I just really struggle with that. On our wedding day, there were 300 people seated to watch my lovely wife and I exchange vows. Approximately 15 were there for me and 285 were for my wife (which is why we didn’t divide the guests into groom and bride sides). Getting married anyway is a nervous matter, but doing it in front of 300 people was even worse. As I stood on the platform listening to...
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Thinking Through Tradegy Part 2

Thinking through Tragedy, Part 2 Ruth 1:6-14   Tragedy usually involves a loss or a sudden change of some kind. When this happens, it is a natural (and sinful) reaction to focus inwardly. We do this as people. We naturally have a man-centric viewpoint, so we when suffer tragedy, we tend to ask questions like “why me?” “where is God?” “couldn’t He have stopped this?” and so on. We tend to miss the big picture (God) and instead focus on the small picture (us). We saw last time how in this time of change Naomi wasn’t thinking straight and instead of allowing her daughter-in-law’s to come to Judah with her, she encouraged them to stay away from the Land of Blessing. She knew God, the Source of blessing and yet couldn’t see the fallacy of her advice. I want to look more into her response today and note that when we blame God,(v. 20-21) tragedy will blind us instead of allowing us to see things...
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