At the September 3, 2017 teaching of “More Than You Need”, Pastor Wilson begins by reminding us that the Law shows us the character of God and how He expects us to care for the least among us. Boaz and his farming staff are following this law and allowing the poor among them (Ruth) to gather the leftover grain from the new harvest in Bethlehem. We know Ruth is looking for God’s favor (“grace”) but never loosing focus of the task at hand, survival. Boaz shows up and inquires as to this new girl. He sees her as a very hardworking woman and has been informed that she is the one that has taken it on herself to care for his widowed relative Naomi.
Long hours in the hot sun and working well into the night when everyone else has gone prove that she is not thinking of herself. Ruth has no idea of the long-term implications of just going about her day; working on the little things that are right in front of her. She knows the accumulation of all these little details happening in her life are graces from God. She has the right heart-attitude.
In our modern day, science has dabbled in explaining the effect of doing the little things with something called The Butterfly Effect. Simply stated the tiniest things, like a butterfly flapping it’s wings can have seismic consequences; even the start of a hurricane.
We need to realize that the little things happening every day in our lives are little graces from God that have seismic implications for the kingdom of God. Boaz meeting Ruth was one of the first flutters in the lineage of King David and then Jesus. Every head & kernel of wheat that passed between Ruth’s fingers was just one moment closer to me sitting here writing her story, to the glory of God.
So if every little task in the day of a Christian leads to kingdom ends, then every task matters. Our day is filled with millions of those tasks and all we are asked is to do them in faith. That faith is the faith in the Father and His promises found in His rich Word. So we should get up every day and deal with the little things in our day, like making our beds and just finishing the work on our desk before we stop and move on to another task. Be committed to the task at hand because God put it there for some seismic reason.
Nothing is insignificant
“This is the great adventure of the Christian life — that everything matters. There are no insignificant details in life. The Christian life is the most disciplined life of all, not constrained by the law but aware of the implications of every little thing in life. Every little thing matters. When I counsel people who’ve come to me because their Christian testimony doesn’t seem to have worked and their life is chaos, we don’t reach out and grab that big ball of chaos and try to make sense of it. We sit down and talk about the little things in their life that are contributing to the chaos that they can’t see the connection between. So, if you struggle with a lack of self-control and you’ve got addiction problems you would ask ‘how do we fix addiction?’. We’d start to talk about the little areas of self-control. What does your desk look like? What does your bedroom look like? What does your sock drawer look like? What does your car look like? You’re out of control everywhere. You’re not just out of control in one area. Instead of trying to stop alcoholism, why don’t you try to start folding your socks. Well, that just sounds silly to people, but it shouldn’t sound silly to Christians because we understand that nothing is insignificant. We begin with self-control in the areas where we can exercise self-control and learn the benefits of it……and suddenly you’re learning to gain control over these chaotic issues in your life.”
‘Simplify your life’, ‘getting back to basics’ are secular phrases that ring true to everyone. There is no secret that focusing on the little things right in front of us repels the chaos monster that looms in our busy lives every day. We’re always trying to get ahead in life but in reality, what we are actually saying with our chaotic, half-completed tasks each day is that we know better than God about what should and shouldn’t happen for our good.
If God has given you a task, complete it. It is not beneath you. It is right in front of you.
That moment and that effort of just putting your dirty dishes in the dishwasher instead of in the clean sink actually means something. Ask any wife about the peace and domestic prosperity associated with just that little act. Flutter, flutter.
Sometimes we have a list of tasks that are half completed because we just don’t know what to do next, or better stated, we just don’t know what to do best. This can tie us up in all kinds of anxiety-knots. Just do the next thing. Complete the task with focus. Push away the scattered notions of undefinable perfection and let hard work and task-completion be the God honoring perfection you seek. Do it right. Do it well. Be committed to it and then trust God.
Our Ruth was nose-to-the-grind-stone, gathering food for her and Naomi to survive; committed to care for her mother-in-law. This sacrificial commitment was one she made of her own will; compelled by love. She and Naomi don’t know if they’ll have their needs met or not. They have no long-term survival plan. Ruth, a new believer, just does the next thing. She gets up and goes to work. Here we see such a great example of Christian contentment.
In Philippians 4:11, Paul says that he’s learned to be content in every situation. When he didn’t know what to do, he just did the next thing. He did his duty. He knew that God’s sovereign grace was in it.
Boaz’s grace extended to this foreigner, Ruth. He granted her favor to gather the best food and water from his fields and have the protection among his workers. Ruth was overwhelmed with Boaz’s inclusion and didn’t feel worthy of notice. His notice was prompted by the stories of her reputation in leaving her homeland, trusting in God and caring for Naomi after the loss of their husbands. She was working for the Lord, a faithful woman, and this attracted Boaz. He then allowed her to gather among the unharvested fields so that her work was easier and more plentiful. He even invited her to dinner and shared wine with her. She carried a large load of grain and a doggy-bag from dinner home to Naomi.
The invisible God makes Himself known through His people showing grace.
In Mathew 25:31 we learn that when Jesus comes back He’ll separate the sheep (His children) from the goats (Satan’s children). He’s going to reward those who have been a blessing to the ‘least among us’. God has been working on this since before time. Boaz was not prejudice toward the young Moabite woman. So I’m pretty sure he’ll be in that sheep line.
The take away from this awesome text is to just put one foot in front of the other each day; completing the tasks that God has laid out for you. Expect His blessing but never lose sight of the blessing that may be right in front of you. Oftentimes that blessing comes as you work to be a blessing to someone else.
Check back next week in Views from the Pew to learn another kingdom lesson from this amazing book.
The Book Of Ruth Series – A summation and commentary on the teachings of Pastor Steve Wilson
Part 1 – Resisting Bitternes – Companion blog to 5/21/17: “Repent or Run?”
Part 2 – Informing Your Grief – Companion blog to 5/28/17: “Grief”
Part 3 – 6 Depression Defeating Steps For Christians – Companion blog to 6/4/17: “Depression”
Part 4 – God’s Grace – Understanding The Flow – Companion blog to 8/13/17: “Grace”
Part 5 – God’s Orders Falling Out Through Secondary Causes – Companion blog to 8/20/17: “Looking For Love In All the Wrong Places”
Part 6 – Buying Back Lost Opportunities – Companion blog to 8/27/17: “Why We’re All Single”
- Ret. Admiral McCraven talks about how the little things matter when it comes to character and helps you get through the hard times – Click here to watch.