Let’s visit Ruth today. I hope you’ll come along with me. Her story rests between Judges and I Samuel.
We arrive in time to see her gleaning in a field belonging to a man named Boaz. She’s picking up wheat dropped by the reapers. It’s the custom of that day. The reapers leave behind grain for the poor of the land to pick up for their food. Boaz, the owner of the field, notices her right away. She hasn’t gleaned in his field before. He asks his reapers, ‘Whose damsel is this?’ Meaning: Who is she? They tell him she’s the girl who returned to Bethlehem with Naomi. He tells his reapers to let her glean and don’t yell at her for doing it. (My modern English translation.)
Boaz continues, “And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not” (Ruth 2:16). Boaz tells his reapers to leave extra grain on the ground for Ruth to pick up. Leave her handfuls on purpose. Handfuls of purpose!
I want to bring this Scripture close to where we are right now. It’s harvest time. We are standing on the edge of the harvest field. We say, “Jesus needs laborers, and I’m available! Where do you want me to be in your harvest field? What’s my place and purpose?” There may be no overwhelming, resounding response that has us immediately bringing carloads of people to church and thousands receiving the Holy Ghost. But, as Boaz watched Ruth, the Lord of the harvest, watches us today.
This is what God sees:
Our intercessory prayers for lost souls, our heart for His Word, and submission to His will. Our obedience to whatever He asks of us. He sees that we take every opportunity we are given and use it in a way that is pleasing to Him. He sees our smiles and kind words to the grocery clerk. He hears, “Hello, how are you?” spoken to a fellow shopper going down the shampoo aisle right next to us
He sees the meal prepared or picked up from a restaurant and taken to a neighbor who’s been feeling ill. He hears our offer to help an elderly saint get to their doctor’s appointment or store. He sees the text to the exhausted single mother at home with the children running around her feet, asking, “Can I watch the children an hour or two so you can rest?”
Sometimes these things seem small and insignificant. Do they really make a difference? Do they mean anything? Yes! They are handfuls of purpose!
When Ruth picked up the handfuls of purpose lying in front of her, she didn’t realize where they would take her. Her handfuls of purpose led her into the house of Boaz and all the way to Matthew 1:5. “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth….” Ruth, your handfuls of purpose took you all the way to Jesus Christ!
Where will our handfuls of purpose take us? The Lord of the harvest knows all things. If we pick up each handful of opportunity as it is placed in our pathway, I do know this—Matthew 25:23, “His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”
Our Lord will say, “Well done”!