Many are facing challenging times. Headlines and daily newscasts are a continuous reminder of the turmoil of everyday life. It is easy to get weary in a world where your belief system is contested every minute. It’s easy to get angry, upset, anxious, even depressed over living in this day and age. Yet, as followers of Christ, we are supposed to treat others as we would be treated. As in Proverbs 25:21-22, “If your enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For you shall heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward you.” What the scriptures are talking about here is kindness. There is a principle regarding kindness, an act sorely missing in today’s society.
Recall the story of Ruth during a time of famine. After moving from Judah to Moab seeking food, her mother-in-law Naomi’s husband died. Then Naomi’s two sons died. Ruth was married to one of the sons. Orpha was married to the other. Naomi, left with nothing, decided to return to her homeland of Judah, of the God of her fathers. She knew at least in Judah her people would care for her. She encouraged Orpha and Ruth, both Gentiles, to remain in Moab. Orpha departed. Ruth, however, refused and chose to remain with Naomi, saying, “for where you go, I will go; and where you stay, I will stay; your people shall be my people and your God my God.” This demonstrated Ruth’s devotion to not only Naomi, but importantly her choice to follow the one true God.
Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, Boaz, who was prominent and wealthy. Ruth went to Boaz’s fields to follow behind the harvesters and glean what was left, as was the Biblical custom for widows who had no family to support them. Boaz heard how Ruth was so very kind to Naomi and was impressed that she left her homeland to remain with Naomi. He told Ruth to harvest what she needed and said, in Ruth 2:12, “May the Lord reward you for what you have done; may you be rewarded in full by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.” Long story short, Boaz was a family member who could legally rescue Ruth and Naomi as a redeeming kinsman. Boaz eventually married Ruth and redeemed Naomi’s husband’s and son’s family tree, by having a son with Ruth. That son was David’s grandfather.
Naomi and Ruth faced turmoil from famine and tragedy from death. Their response was kindness and a work ethic to survive. Boaz recognized this and responded in care, mercy and kindness. Proverb 25:22 speaks of the Lord’s reward for kindness, as did Boaz in Ruth 2:12. Christ also speaks in Matthew 5 about loving your enemies, blessing them that curse you and doing good to them that hate you, “that you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” Then he asks for if you love those who love you, “what reward do you have?” It is easy to respond to today’s circumstances with anger, but that anger can turn to bitterness, fear, and anxiety—all things that harm us personally which is what the devil wants for us. As with Ruth, you are under the wings of the Lord. Take action and act in kindness, where there is blessing.