Kindness—Practical, Unexpected, Unearned

Michael Wilcock

READ : Ruth 2:8-9

“When you are thirsty, . . . drink.” (v. 9)

Boaz’s kindness to the poor foreigner Ruth is thoroughly practical. He reassures her
and encourages her. She is to stay close to his own young women (safety in numbers!) as
they reap and she gleans, so she will also get the best pickings, and the young men have
been warned not to molest her. She may help herself to refreshment—all just as if she
were one of his own work-force. She isn’t, of course, and Ruth may well wonder why she is
being singled out for such favors. So may the reapers! They could call it favoritism, and
complain.

There is a character rather like Boaz in one of the Gospel parables. He owned a vineyard, and some of his workers complained about the special treatment others were getting. Boaz might have responded like the man in the parable: “Do you begrudge my generosity?” (Matt. 20:15).

His kindness was not only practical but unexpected and unearned. The New Testament would call it “grace.” To say that Boaz is like the person in Jesus’ story is to say that he is in some ways like Jesus himself. The book of Ruth is going to tell us a lot about the grace of God.

PRAYER

Lord, give us a bigger view of what grace means. Amen.