Then her mother-in-law asked her, "Where did you glean today, and where did you work? Blessed be the man who noticed you." So she told her mother-in-law where she had worked. "The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz," she said.
gleaning, Robinson says, "The way led us through open fields, where the people were in the midst of the wheat-harvest. The beautiful tracts of grain were full of reapers of the Henady Arabs, and also of gleaners almost as numerous. These were mostly women; and this department seemed almost as important as the reaping itself, since the latter is done in so slovenly a manner, that not only much falls to the ground, but also many stalks remain uncut. In one field nearly 200 reapers and gleaners were at work, the latter being nearly as numerous as the former." As to threshing, Robinson mentions that "several women were beating out with a stick handfuls of the grain which they seemed to have gleaned." As to the parching of corn, the same writer says, "The grains of wheat, not yet fully dry and hard, are roasted in a pan or on an iron plate, and eaten along with bread, or instead of it." Boaz showed his practical sympathy with the widows of the narrative by giving parched corn to Ruth to eat, and by securing that her gleaning should be even more successful and abundant than was usual with the maidens.
I. Liberality to the poor should ACCORD WITH THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE GIVER.
II. It should TAKE A FORM ADAPTED TO THE WANTS OF THE RECIPIENT.
III. It should BE UNGRUDGING AND GRACEFUL IN ITS BESTOWAL.
IV. It should RE INSPIRED BY THE MEMORY OF THE UNDESERVED BOUNTY OF THE GREAT GIVER, GOD.
V. It should NOT COUNT UPON, though it may have occasion to rejoice in, THE GRATITUDE OF THE BENEFICIARY. - T.
Where hast thou gleaned to-day?I. THE SPHERE: LIFE'S OPPORTUNITIES.
1. The law of labour is the law of life. In this world but little can be accomplished without energy and enterprise. In every department this is true.
2. To the open and eager eye openings invite and opportunities multiply. "Let me now go to the field." "I have set before thee an open door." "The field is the world." (Isaiah 6:8.)
3. Forms of activity, how diversified they are. There is not only the reaper but the "gleaner" also. "All works are good, and each is best when most it pleases Thee." "Gather up the fragments," and despise not "the day of small things."
4. Scope exists for all. "How many serve, how many more may to the service come." "Even I, in fields so broad, some duties may fulfil."
5. Each "day" brings its demands. "To-day."
II. THE SERVICE: OUR USE OR NEGLECT OF LIFE'S OPPORTUNITIES.
1. Neglect possible. There is no compulsion. The parable of the talents. The field of the slothful (Proverbs 24).
2. Success attainable. Satisfaction in healthful industry. Beneficent results are an "ephah of barley." "Neither man nor work unblest wilt Thou permit to be." "He shall doubtless come again bringing his sheaves with him." "Enter into the joy of thy Lord."
3. Co-operation here desirable. "Let fall some for her." "Reproach her not." Community in labour. Unselfishly thinking of others and their work, without unkindliness or rebuke. "Each worker pleases where the rest he serves in charity."
III. THE SCRUTINY: DIRECT INVESTIGATION INTO OUR USE OF LIFE'S OPPORTUNITIES.
1. The "day," however, varying in incident and duration, soon "goeth away." "The shadows of the evening are stretched out." "The night cometh when no man can work."
2. After that, the tribunal and award.
(a) (b) (1) (2) (3) (J. P. Allen, M. A.)
(b) (1) (2) (3) (J. P. Allen, M. A.)
(1) (2) (3) (J. P. Allen, M. A.)
(J. P. Allen, M. A.)
(J. P. Allen, M. A.)
1. The first thing I am impressed with is this — if you will allow Ruth to answer the question for us — no matter how dark may have been your past life, no matter through what changes and hardships you may have come, you are not justified in giving in to melancholy, much less to despair. Do not sit still; go on with your round. Cast about, go out and forage somewhere. Do the thing that lies next to your hand; go back to the ordinary common work-a-day world, and you will find relief. "Where hast thou gleaned to-day?"
2. If, in answer to my question, you would say that you are nobody, that you are of no account, and that all life's plans and purposes have come to one swift catastrophe, I rebuke you from Ruth's history. You may be poor and obscure
; so was Ruth; but a new day had dawned. Keep up your heart; greater, if you only thought it, are the things behind the scenes in your favour than all that seems to be against you.
3. Then, when we stand here and ask, and answer, the questions that flew swift as a weaver's, shuttle between Ruth and Naomi — does not this come out? You have not been working in vain, if you will tell the truth. If you look at things aright, and take yet another look, especially those who are down cast, tell me if you are not bound to admit that your history is beginning to show glints of sunshine, here and there, through its darkness and chaos. Somehow you are getting conscious of it that there is an upper light breaking in. Now, think of the man who came into the field, whose presence opened up a new chapter for Ruth, and opened a wonderful chapter in God's purposes for a great while to come. On what small hinges do great doors hang! The world is still God's acre. It is not a field of riot, of chance and haphazard. It is not true that this is a world in which only the fittest survive and the weakest go to the wall. It is not true that the race is to the swift and the battle to the strong. Don't you see how the gospel comes on the scene with the face of that man Boaz? He is always going about the field, this Boaz, this Kinsman, this Redeemer. His eyes are on you, and He knows more about you than you are giving Him credit for. Blessed is He who is taking knowledge of thee. "Where hast thou gleaned to-day? and where wroughtest thou?"
4. Again, looking at this as a fireside gathering, as it were, to-day, at the end of one week, and before the new one, with its activities, is fully upon us, does not this come out of the question and the answer — that, after all, you have had unexpected success? Ruth's story shows us that, when we come across good times, when we come to what is called "good luck," we are in danger then. Now, don't go away and say that that is come to you because you rose early and sat up late, because you were sharper than other people, because your wits are keener, because you have shuffled the per cents., so to speak, more cleverly. Put in God somewhere; give God the credit, give Him the praise, give Him the glory, for, I tell you, it is all His.
I. To such let me say, "GLEAN WHERE THE CORN GROWS AND LIES NEAR AT HAND. You will not find the corn by the wayside, or on the moor. You must go to the fields: it is only on the cultivated land you can find it." And so with the knowledge that is worth possessing. It is not to be found everywhere. For instance, it is not from every pulpit you hear the gospel: why go where Christ is not preached? It is not in all company that you may glean wisdom. "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise." It would be well for us to bear in mind that we cannot be friendly with the ungodly without storing up some of the talk we hear, and that we thus store sorrow for the future. It is not every book from which we can glean corn. Reading a bad book is to gather poison.
II. To glean successfully WE MUST BE WILLING TO STOOP. Gleaning is stooping. The writer heard a man behind a counter say, "The worst folks to deal with are those who know all you are going to say." This is true enough. A schoolboy who thinks he knows it all is the most hopeless of pupils. The apprentice who will not be told never learns his trade. Many a man would have risen if he could have afforded to stoop for awhile.
III. If we would glean a heap, we must be content with A LITTLE AT A TIME. The woman who has gathered the largest bundle of corn never once picked up a handful. It was mostly in single ears: "Here a little, and there a little." It is wonderful what may be done by never passing by a thing that is worth preserving. To note down, every day, each remarkable thing, would make a wonderful volume in time. To do this thoroughly, we must know the value of each grain of truth. Don't let the thought that it is only a little prevent your stooping, for stacks are made up of single straws, and London is made up of single houses, which were built a brick at a time.
IV. No one can glean well who is not ABLE TO PERSEVERE. Gleaning is tiring work. It means a back-ache. We must, if we mean to succeed, be willing to go on long after we are weary. We cannot expect to have it all our own way. If we were as willing to spur ourselves to perseverance as we are to urge on our weary horses, we should accomplish much more than we do. Abraham Lincoln was asked if he thought the war would be over while he was President. "Can't say, sir." "But, Mr. Lincoln, what do you mean to do?" "Peg away, sir — keep pegging away." And pegging away liberated millions of bondmen, and wiped the foul stain of slavery from America's 'scutcheon.
I. THAT THE POOR HAVE A RIGHT TO GLEAN UPON US, and that part of our substance, by the laws of God and nature, is their strict and proper due.
II. THAT THE BLESSING OF GOD AND THE POOR IS AN AMPLE RETRIBUTION TO THE RICH FOR SUFFERING THEM TO GLEAN, and that they have as strict a right to that as the poor have to their gleaning, and much greater refreshments springing from it.
III. THAT IN RELIGIOUS PUBLIC MINISTRATIONS IT IS FAR FROM VAINGLORY TO DISTINGUISH OURSELVES BY OUR LIBERALITY. Then the more we give the more we may be truly said to promote the glory of God! Then the more we show the forwardness of our mind the more we profess subjection to the laws of Christ.
(R. Coleire, M. A.)
(J. Spencer Kennard.)
(A. Thomson, D. D.)
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