ONE of the most beautiful stories on relationships in the Bible is about Naomi, Ruth and Boaz. Here is the opening account of this story from Ruth 1:1-5 "In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelech, his wife’s name Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there. Now Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband."
AFTER the death of her sons, Naomi decided to go back to Bethlehem and urged her daughters to stay in Moab with their families. Ruth would have none of it, refusing to stay and insisting on going with Naomi. What a relationship this mother and her daughter-in-law must have had.
ONCE the two women arrived in Judah, they had nothing to their name. Their land was forfeited when they left and they had no way to earn other than to glean from the edges of random fields.
NAOMI knew Ruth would need to marry a man within her clan in order to preserve the family and their inheritance. Boaz was the man God provided so they could be provided for, the "home" they needed. She said in Ruth 3:1-2, "...My daughter, should I not try to find a home for you, where you will be well provided for? Is not Boaz, with whose servant girls you have been, a kinsman of ours?"
WE all need a place, a "Somewhere" that is safe, where we can meet people and develop into who we were created to be. We have places like homes, bars, restaurants, work, gyms, schools, etc. these places provide a "somewhere" for us to gather and grow. But isn't church the best place for this to happen? Can you imagine where your faith in God would be if there wasn't our church? And what about all the friends you've made, where would they be? Without Boaz to provide a place for Ruth she would have been barren. And like Ruth, we would be spiritually barren without a church home.
AS people, we not only need a place, most of us need a person, a "Someone" who will help us and provide for us. God uses all sorts of His people to do just this. Ultimately, God is our provider, but He chooses to use people to help Him carry out His plans. God has used so many in my life to provide for me. My parents, bosses, pastors, teachers, coaches and of course, most of you who attend our church. Just as God used Boaz to cover Ruth and provide for her, many of you like Boaz, have been used by God to help cover and sustain the life of The Foothills. We are here because of God and you!
BECAUSE Boaz was willing to support Ruth and Naomi, he had to give up something... The rights to Naomi's land. It was a selfless gift. All the land he took responsibility for was not going to be credited to him, but to Elimelech. He chose the responsibility but others reaped the reward. This is giving at its purest. Jesus took the responsibility to die on the cross for our sins and we reaped the rewards of forgiveness.
UNDERSTANDING giving means to know that we have a purpose to fulfill, a "Someday". Givers do not always see the benefits in the immediate, but down the road the blessings will be there. As for Boaz, he became known for his generosity. But there was another man, the one first in line to redeem could have taken on this responsibility to give. He could have been named, but he refused. In Ruth 4:6 this unnamed man said, "...I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it." His refusal meant he missed out on something or a "someday" that was awesome. Boaz took this man's place in history and became famous as the great-grandfather to King David and an ancestor of Jesus Christ. Not a bad legacy to be known for.
GIVING to the Church puts us in the future. Everything we give could cause a person to give their life to Jesus and then live with Him for eternity. All because of you! I invite you to join me in being a "Boaz" and not just some other guy.