One day Ruth, the Moabite foreigner, said to Naomi, “I’m going to work; I’m going out to glean among the sheaves, following after some harvester who will treat me kindly.” Naomi said, “Go ahead, dear daughter.” (Ruth 2:2 MSG)
There are 2 things that stand out to me from these verses. Ruth comes to Naomi and suggests a solution, a new idea. She must already know that foreigners are welcome to come and glean but she comes to Naomi at some point to suggest she actually be the one to do this. They have no man to provide for them and Ruth steps up to be the provider.
I often ask the women I nurture ‘who should take the initiative in stepping out in faith, in a relationship, in building bridges, in doing something different, in taking responsibility? Should it be the older women or the younger? Should it be the new person or the the one who was there first? Should it be the one with experience or the one facing something for the first time? BOTH. The reason I ask is because we are prone to wait; wait for someone else or prone to excuse ourselves out of the situation, especially if it is going to require humility, hard work, faith and discomfort. Ruth took the initiative.
I love that Ruth doesn’t wait to be asked, or wait for Naomi to take the initiative. She takes the initiative! She steps up. In chapter one, Ruth has already been the one who would not let Naomi push her away and she is now the one positioning herself and taking initiative to provide for Naomi. So many women are pining for provision as if it is going to drop from the sky. The miracle of provision in this story happened when she took the initiative and stepped up. She doesn’t wait to be invited. If I wait for an invitation, it may never come. If I am waiting for someone else, they may never do anything.
Naomi does not stop her. Naomi does not resent her decision or question it or whine about her or put her down or in her place. She is ONLY encouraging. She does not make this about her needs or past. It is never my place to put a dampener on someone’s initiative and willingness to serve and work. It is never my place to bring discouragement for any reason but especially if I am in a place of emptiness and disappointment. The only thing the author notes is Naomi’s words of support.
The younger women need the older women to support and encourage them.
This year there will be women who need my encouragement. It is never my place to spew bitterness or discouragement on anyone. This year there will times when I need the older women to encourage me. Naomi could have had any number of reasons to stop Ruth but she simply said. GO.. Go ahead. Go for it!!! Later in the chapter, she doesn’t just encourage her but steps it up and helps strategise with her. She adds her strength and her wisdom and to the situation Ruth is facing and begins to help Ruth step into her destiny. There is something over this woman who has felt the depth of grief and bitterness that makes her attractive and endearing. What is it??
In my quest to get the generations taking responsibility for each other, this story speaks to me about initiative, encouragement and sacrifice.
How many of us are willing to put our lives into the context of hard work, sacrifice and humility to provide for the needs of those God has put in our lives to care for. We find it easy for blood relatives, but what about those who are not directly related to us. If I am called to nurture others, this verse brings me inspiration because those story leads to miracles, destiny, provision and joy!