Sermon in a nutshell: May the one who noticed you be blessed! (Ruth 2:18-23)
My prayer is that all of our church members live happy lives, meaningful lives, and abundant lives. Since our God, our Father in heaven, wants us to have the best life, I also pray for that. So, I am repeating the steps to restoring our original blessings until we all receive them.
The first step is to come back to God with humble confession as the prodigal son did in Luke 15. Naomi came back but she complained and blamed God. She still had a long way to go. The second step is to see what we already have in our hands. Naomi missed her husband and two sons and could not appreciate the daughter-in-law who was still with her. We need to see what we continually have and that God is still with us. Third, we have to value and love the ones who are still with us. Unless we appreciate what we have, we do not realize our blessings. We have to trust God who allows us to have the things that we still have. We have to find the reason why God still allows us to have those. Then, we have to serve others with what we still have. We need to start small acts of kindness. Ruth did. She went out to the field and gathered grains to serve her mother-in-law. Then she reaped more blessings than she expected.
This changed the attitude of Naomi, the mother-in-law. Naomi did not yet value and care for the daughter-in-law, Ruth. However, she started blessing others, in this case, Boaz! That was a good start. Before we restore our own blessings, we need to bless others first. That is the way God works in our lives. We can start blessing those whom we have reasons to bless. Naomi blessed Boaz because he showed favor to her through Ruth. It is easy for us to thank and bless those who have been good to us. So, we must start with baby steps, the easy ones. We want to make blessing others a habit.
However, when Naomi found out that the man’s name was Boaz, she had another idea! Boaz was one of the “close relatives.” Boaz was one of their “guardian-redeemers.” In the Old Testament, “guardian-redeemer” (goel in Hebrew) had three unique duties. First, they were to buy back the freedom of the relatives when they sold themselves as slaves (Leviticus 25:47-49 “If a foreigner residing among you becomes rich and any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to the foreigner or to a member of the foreigner’s clan, they retain the right of redemption after they have sold themselves. One of their relatives may redeem them: An uncle or a cousin or any blood relative in their clan may redeem them. Or if they prosper, they may redeem themselves.”) and the land that their relatives sold (Leviticus 25:25 “If one of your fellow Israelites becomes poor and sells some of their property, their nearest relative is to come and redeem what they have sold.”). Second, they were to pay back what others did to their relatives (Numbers 35:21 “if out of enmity one person hits another with their fist so that the other dies, that person is to be put to death; that person is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when they meet.”). Third, they were to make sure that the relatives maintain the name of the family (Deuteronomy 25:5 “If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her.”).
So, Boaz’s job was not done! He would do more than blessing them with just one bag of barley and protection. Boaz would plan for the long-term well-being of the two widows, Naomi and Ruth. All this started with Ruth’s small act of kindness and Naomi’s blessing for Boaz. In other words, Ruth tried to serve Naomi and Naomi blessed Boaz. Now, it was Boaz’s turn to bless the two widows. We call this “the Triangle of Blessings.” I can draw a figure for you: BOAZ
Triangle of Caring
So far, Ruth served Naomi through gleaning and Boaz helped Ruth and Naomi with food. There are three more lines to be filled in this Triangle of Caring. Then the restoration of blessing will be fulfilled. We will see them later (to be continued). However, before I close this sermon, I want to emphasize again that to restore our own blessings, we have to start blessing others. God will open the doors of blessings through our blessings.
- Who is the one that you want to bless today?
- What would be the content of your blessings for them?