If I could paint (which I clearly cannot), the picture I’d make would be like a fairy tale, only better. Full color. Absolutely enchanting. We’ve gotta talk about this guy.
Let me set the stage. I was hanging out in the book of Ruth for my Friday “date” with Jesus at the coffee shop. I’ve been over and over that story (what Christian girl hasn’t, right?) but I was asking for fresh perspective. Show me something new, Lord! What do you want me to see here?
I always focus on Ruth. Always. What’s not to like, right? I started by looking at Ruth and her qualities. Initiative. Loyalty. Kindness. She’s quite the gal. But this one thing stands above all else.
Ruth is full of love and covenant-faithfulness to her mother-in-law. She’s amazing! However, though she might be the leading lady, she’s not the star attraction or the best actor. Yesterday, my focus shifted.
His name is Boaz.
Boaz. You gotta take a load of this guy. He is a prominent figure in society. He is wealthy. He is well-known and has an honorable reputation. Kind-hearted. Gentle. And he’s also daring. Really, who else risks everything to marry a foreigner? Was he just in it to rescue her or did he actually love her?
This story slays me. Every. Single. Time. Right now…it’s my fav. It was one of the first real fairy tales. Talk about a damsel in distress…dragons and grain fields and peasants and everything. Who rescues like that?
Jesus. That’s Who. And of course, we see Boaz as the picture of Jesus…
I know this in my head. Yet, somehow, in that coffee shop that morning, it connected with my HEART.
Jesus is my Boaz.
When the world is pushing me to “get out there” to find a man…when my friends are all getting married…when my biological clock seems to tics louder and louder… Jesus is my Boaz. He sees me…poor and foreign as I am. I can echo Ruth’s words to Boaz—“Why are you so kind to notice me, although I am a foreigner?” (Ruth 2:10)
I find it interesting that Boaz already knew who she was and what her character was like. She was living her life well. Perhaps this is what it means to live my life as an invitation to His Table. Does my reputation proceed me? And if it does, is it God honoring or self-promoting?
Ruth– she was well-known by everyone as Boaz later points out in Ruth 3:11: “Now don’t be afraid, my daughter. I will do for you whatever you say, since all the people in my town know that you are a woman of noble character.”
I suddenly want to be like Ruth. She’s unbelievable.
Here’s the thing though…do you think Ruth always had that reputation? Hardly. I can imagine she was the subject of harsh words and town gossip for far too long in the beginning. A foreigner. At some point, a multiple-god-worshipper. She was a Moabite woman to beat all. (Moabites were forbidden to marry Israelites…it’s a very long story going way back to Genesis 19).
What we see in her is loyalty. Faithfulness. At some point, the neighbors noticed her unwavering love for Naomi, the bitter widow who had come home. Ruth took care of her. Loved her. Was patient with her moods.
Then, somewhere along the way, her reputation changed from “the foreigner” to “the woman of noble character.”
Isn’t faithful living simply doing the right thing over and over and over again? No matter who sees you. No matter the lack of attention. No matter if you’re unrecognized. No matter how mundane the task.
And maybe that’s how we build a Godly reputation.
In all things– especially at home and in the small things– we stay faithful. Loyal. Determined. Joy in the mundane.
Suddenly…with my vanilla latte in hand, I stare at the page. I hear His still, small voice: “When you think no one sees you, Faith, I notice you.”
He sees. Our Great Redeemer looks across His field and sees us– laboring in the small moments. Cheerfully. Kindly. Loyally. What if that’s it? What if faithful labor in the small things is what turns the head of our Redeemer? He sees us regardless…we know this.
I sat there enraptured by this thought…that perhaps in those moments of messy floors and stacks of papers and piles of laundry…He sees me differently. With new eyes. He is drawn to me in my mess. Plodding one foot in front of the other, thinking I’m doing nothing important.
Ruth was doing a very normal thing…she was gathering grain. By hand. Of all the times for Boaz to NOTICE her. But there he is. He watches her. Talks to her. And offers his protection and provision. He even speaks a blessing over her.
I wonder about this. How can he love her…just a servant girl, gathering grain day after day? Jesus did that for me. Just a regular, messy girl needing to be redeemed. Craving to be seen.
What if doing normal things catches my Redeemer’s attention in a special way? In all of the mad mundane, He comes to me and stoops to tell me—“I see you. I am here. I will protect you. I will provide for you.” And then He calls me noble. I don’t think anyone else has ever called me noble.
The book of Song of Solomon is about a wealthy King who falls in love with an ordinary girl. That’s like Boaz and Ruth. It’s like Jesus and me. He is captured with one glance of my eyes. (Song of Solomon 4:9) That’s pretty amazing.
Maybe sometimes the Provider is waiting to see our faithfulness in the little things. He’s watching and we don’t even know it.
He sees us. He sees me.
You there, mama with little ones running around your feet. Your Redeemer sees you! Amid piles of laundry. The dishes. The dirty faces and snotty noses. When you can’t even get ten seconds of quiet reprieve. He sees you being faithful.
And He smiles.
Single gal, wondering where on earth your man is and if he’s lost somewhere riding a tortoise. Your Redeemer sees you…living faithful in all the things that feel mundane and less-than and weird.
Teen girl…wondering if school is really all they say it’s cracked up to be…wishing you fit in more…confused by the world, your friends and what you should do with your life…Your Redeemer sees you.
Maybe you’re a caretaker… and you wish someone would be there to notice your patient willingness to answer the same question a thousand times…or hold a withered hand in yours…or change diapers…or spoon feed soup…Your Redeemer sees you. He’s captured by your faithfulness in the mundane.
A poor woman of noble character. A prominent man of wealth.
If I could paint, I’d want to create a picture that depicts this scene: A mighty Man on horseback. Clothed in wealth. Confident. Authoritative. Looking down on His fields—His eyes drawn to a poor peasant girl. Her head is bowed in humility. Steady. Unassuming. Faithful. He sees her and smiles.
“One day, I’m gonna make her my bride.”
Best. Story. Ever.