Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!” “The Lord bless you!” they answered. (Ruth 2:4 NIV)
In the book of Ruth, we are about to meet Boaz, but before we do, we have already met his harvesters. And before we actually meet him, we hear him..
I was chatting to a friend last night and she was describing someone she had met who , in her first meeting, proceeded to whinge, whine, moan and groan her way through the conversation. She later met this ladies kids. Her very first encounter was one where these kids were complaining about something . She was left with a sense that this family carry a tone that has been cultivated in the family. As I read my story on Ruth this morning I felt like God was using that conversation with my friend to gently remind me about the tone of my own home. If I am responsible for creating an environment of blessing then I am also responsible for being vigilant in recognising and destroying the blessing saboteurs. I am the one who must take responsibility in my home and in the other fields God has given me responsibility for.
I have always considered myself a morning person. That is, until I had kids. A lack of sleep , too many late nights, busy days with two kids under 5 led to some slightly grumpy and slow-to-get-happy cursing-mumma moments. I needed a Naomi to help me. God provided one!!!
My kids were really young when a beautiful godly ‘Naomi‘ in my life addressed the issue of the tone of my home and suggested I take responsibility for what God has given me and I be the one to create and set the culture and tone of my home. I had to change how I did mornings so that we, as a family had the sound of blessing. It is something that has become intentional and it is not easy.
I am now a vigilante at creating a culture that brings a sound of blessing in and outside of the home. I am annoying in my intentional and vigilant eradication of blessing saboteurs : whinging, whining and cursing.
Whinging, whining and criticism is not part of our Mazey language and not part our Hills culture. When I hear my kids complain and whine …I am tempted to address it with them but have discovered that they are simply reflecting the culture and tone I am setting. I would like to think that my kids learnt to whine and complain from school friends but I am more inclined to think it is broader than that. It starts in the home and finishes in the home.
If I hear moaning and cursing and criticism then the person responsible for this field, this team, this work environment, is me. It is me. I am vigilant about creating a church culture where the sound of blessing is heard among the workers. The sound of complaining, whining and moaning will lead others to seek other fields. How do I create an environment of blessing that others can hear?
What is it that people hear before they meet me? Blessing??
When people hear my kids… Is it the sound of blessing? Not often.
What do people hear about our op shop before they meet us?
What do people hear about my family before they meet me?
What do people hear about our church before they meet us?
What is he doing and tone we are creating. One of blessing???
We find Ruth in a field that is attractive to her for the kindness and favour she finds. The culture of this field and the language she heard is one of kindness. Who is responsible for the culture and language of this field? We are about to meet him. Boaz, before we meet him, gives us a sense of faith and joy because of what we hear before he speaks to Ruth. His harvester’s response gives us what I pray my family give before they get to meet us: the sound of heaven.
Come summer holidays, and in this field (called my family) , the workers ( my kids) get the relaxed, gracious, non-stressed mummy who tends to greet her family with a smile and a blessing. But move out of holiday mode and the season should never determine the culture and language of my home. When the heat of busy and crazy school, work, ministry , family commitments, health, bills, schedules, planning and routine begins to put the pressure on, I don’t want the season to change the tone of my field. I want the harvesters and reapers in the field to respond to me with blessing.