Read: Matthew 1:1-5; Ruth 1, 4:13-15 When Ruth’s story begins, I’m struck by how much is missing. Famine left Ruth’s family without food and without a home. Death leaves her, Orpah, and Naomi without husbands and without provision. Mostly, their story is characterized by everything they lack.
Burdened by grief and worry, Naomi can’t see past that scarcity. She tells her daughters-in-law, “I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty” (Ruth 1:21). I don’t fault her for feeling this way.
The Christmas season is often marked by abundance: commercial-free Christmas music, piles of snickerdoodles heaped onto reindeer-shaped platters, Santa’s red sack overflowing with goodies. Lights and tinsel and visions of sugar plums! It’s a lot.
But no doubt, some of us find ourselves more like Naomi: lacking. Perhaps we lack the money to buy gifts for everyone on our lists, or perhaps we lack family to spend the holiday with. We lack the job we want, the kids we hoped and prayed for, the car that runs smoothly, or the clean bill of health.
Is there more that you are wishing for?
Had Ruth focused on what she was missing—a husband, children, provision, a homeland—she very well might have left Naomi and returned to her parents. Instead, she realizes what she does have: a person she loves and an opportunity to provide hope and comfort to someone in need.
Meanwhile, Boaz knew that he, too, had an opportunity to provide and care for another. He shared his fields, crops, and money generously with all, knowing that he could use what God provided to bless, provide for, and even redeem others.
Once Ruth arrives in Boaz’s field, the whole tone of the story changes: Water jars are full (2:9), prayers are for rich rewards (2:12), grain is overflowing (2:14, 18), kindness is unceasing (2:20), and Naomi and Ruth are well-provided for (3:1).
I can’t help but think about how this mirrors the story of our Savior’s birth. Mary and Joseph were foreigners without a roof over their heads or family to rely on. They lacked material possessions and good reputations. I’m sure they were scared and confused.
Yet, once Jesus arrives on the scene, the mood changes. Jesus didn’t bring wealth or power or status, but He brought very good news.
We serve a God of abundance. In His upside-down Kingdom, even the very least (in Ruth and Naomi's case, poor, widowed, foreign women) are enough. We need not fret over our weaknesses, because they remind us of our great need for God. We need not cling too tightly to our stuff, because God uses it to bless others. And when we find ourselves lacking something of significance, we can trust Jesus to fill the empty spaces with His presence, peace, and grace.
Written by guest blogger Lindsey Cornett.