When in the middle of the unspeakable, it’s difficult to see beyond sorrow and difficulty and glean the good from within the darkness. But what if you could? What if there was a secret to gleaning the bounty from the barren. The glory from the shame. I’m going to tell you a story of one woman who did.
This kind girl offered goodness to all she touched. She had a wonderful life: an adoring husband, a mother-in-law who actually liked her, and a sister-in-law she thought the world of. But tragedy struck and her husband died, as well as her brother-in-law. She was devastated and without an income.
Her mother-in-law was experiencing complicated grief. She was already a widow and wanted to move back to her hometown. Despite her mother-in-law’s objections, this devoted and loyal young woman argued and refused to leave her mother-in-law’s side. So she moved to another region and made a life with her mother-in-law. She was young and single, but there weren’t many prospects for her in this strange country, but she was always content and hopeful about her future.
This hard-working young woman decided to go into the barren fields and glean after the harvesters had taken all they wanted. She picked over the field in search of grain so that her and her mother-in-law could eat. Her only hope was that she would not offend the owner of the field and they would let her be and let her glean from what was left behind.
By now, some of you may know the story. I’m talking about Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, and the field she gleaned belonged to Boaz.
Ruth gleaned within a field that had been harvested. A field that was considered empty and all the best of it taken. In these days, the Law of Moses directed landowners to leave this leftover grain after the harvest so that the poor and needy, destitute and widowed could glean from these barren fields.
Not only did Ruth find grain for her and Naomi to eat, but she later found Boaz, who she eventually married. She gave birth to his son, Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and he was the father of King David.
Inside the gloomiest of events, the darkest of days, the most loathsome of outings, if you seek to glean one speck of good from the miserable and mundane, your attitude will change. Even if our situation isn’t dire, but only incorrigible and annoying, seeking to glean a semblance of good can reap enormous joy?
In Ruth 2:2 Ruth asked her mother-in-law, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.” (NIV)
Ruth was intentional about what she was seeking; to find something good.
Sometimes we see what we are looking for. If we are looking to find nothing; no joy, no hope, no good, then we may surely find nothing. But, oh, if we are looking with intention to glean the tiniest of joys from the situation, then dear one, what a delight it will be when we find it.
I'd love to hear about a time when you were able to glean a bounty from the barren.