by John O’Malley
“And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab” (Ruth 2:6).
The servant set over the reapers made a decision to help Ruth by permitting her to glean in Boaz’s fields; he gives account for her presence. Boaz wanted to know to whom the damsel belonged. The servant replied with how his heart had been touched as she told her story to him. In verse six, the servant told Boaz of Ruth’s history, her holiness, and her happiness. He began, “It is the Moabitish damsel.” The servant must have been impressed with her courage, character, and compassion.
Ruth may have shared her story with Boaz’s servant this way:
“If it pleases the servant of the lord of this harvest, I would love to tell you how I came to your field this day. I was born to parents in Moab. Growing up, I knew only of Moab’s iniquity, idols, and immorality. Then, during my late adolescent years, I met a family from a town called Bethlehem-judah. This was the family of Elimelech.
The providence of Jehovah allowed me to meet their son Mahlon. My heart was taken with this young man. Though it was peculiar to have pure Israelites living in our land, his family’s faith attracted me. Disaster struck his home when his father Elimelech died. We later determined to marry and make a home in Moab for ourselves. We never had children, though we had a happy home. It was during my married days that I got to know Naomi better. What a delightsome woman! Neither death nor disappointment seemed to sway her faith in El-Shaddai.
Death then took my husband Mahlon. My sister-in-law Orpah lost her husband Chilion at the same time. There we were, three widows in Moab. My cultural upbringing caused me to escort Naomi back to Bethlehem-judah. However, what brought me here was the conviction I felt in my heart somewhere between Moab and Bethlehem-judah.
It was there that I confessed my faith and desire to follow Elohim and to identify with the people of Israel. I came back with Naomi with no real possessions to hold in my hand; yet I had in my heart a possession that was greater than could be valued in the marketplace. I had a new faith, a new family, and a new forever.
Sir, as I stand before you today, I am Moabite by birth, but I am Israelite by faith. I come seeking permission to claim the divine right of provision for the poor set out by God for His people and for strangers. Sir, may I have access to your favor and this field?”
“My lord, Boaz,” the servant over the reapers explained, “when she concluded this story, my heart was full of admiration. My eyes were as your eyes are now, filled with tears. Therefore, I replied, 'Please glean in my master’s harvest.’”
Friend, witnessing is no more than telling what God has done for us. When did you last tell the story of your conversion to a total stranger? If you believe no one will want to hear it, ask God to place a stranger before you today to tell how His grace reached you.