As Christians, it is our responsibility to care for the downtrodden. Scripture makes clear the joy inherent in doing so. Proverbs 14:21 observes that “whoever shows kindness to the poor will be happy.”
The biblical account of Boaz, a “prominent man,” and Ruth, a young widow attempting to support herself as well as her widowed mother-in-law, is a beautiful example of personal financial sacrifice for the sole purpose of helping someone living in poverty and despair.
Scripture recounts that after Ruth asked the workers harvesting Boaz’s barley crop if she could walk behind them and pick up, or glean, the grain they had dropped, Boaz instructed the men: “Be sure to let her gather grain among the bundles, and don’t humiliate her. Pull out some stalks from the bundles for her and leave them for her to gather. Don’t rebuke her” (Ruth 2:15-16).
Boaz was following the instruction to God’s people from Leviticus 9:9-10: “When you reap the harvest of your land, you are not to reap to the very edge of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You must not strip your vineyard bare or gather its fallen grapes. Leave them for the poor and the foreign resident.” Note that Boaz not only followed the law but also went beyond what it required. And being a man “of noble character,” he made sure that Ruth would be protected while working in his fields and not rebuked or humiliated because of her vulnerable state.
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