Day 13: Who will I {invite} to the table?

And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.”  So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain.  And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over.”  Ruth 2:14

{Invite}  to request the presence or participation of in a kindly, courteous, or complimentary way, especially to request to come or go to some place, gathering, entertainment, etc., or to do something: to invite friends to dinner.  (Dictionary.com)

Just this morning, pondering the word {invite} my eyes have landed on this somewhat obscure passage in Ruth 2, the 14th verse.  It’s the invitation.  An invitation to lunch.  Reading the definition from dictionary.com and thinking with my modern, western cultural mindset, the invitation invokes a smile and a southern, “Oh, how sweet!” response… Bless her heart!

However, as I pray and look again at God’s Word, this scene doesn’t appear normal.  It seems somewhat unusual – even scandalous – a bit.  The man who owns the field, the near kinsman, extended an invitation to a foreigner and a woman.

The scene here reminds me of many eyebrow-raising dinner invitations Jesus offered and accepted.  Jesus invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house for dinner one day.  On other occasions Jesus ate in the homes of tax collectors, sinners, the unclean and he shared meals in the company of women.

{Invite}  – the near Kinsman invited Ruth to join the reapers at the table for a meal.  She was invited to eat until satisfied.  And she was welcome to take with her the leftovers for her mother in law, Naomi.pablo (77)

I’ve been invited to the table.  Many years ago, as a young professional and somewhat of a foreigner to the church, a man – a manager, a boss – invited me to the Friday morning table.  He bought me a Bible, and he extended an invitation to come to sit at the table with other Jesus followers.

I gladly received his invitation.  But on that first Friday walking in with my brand new Bible I felt awkward.  They were all comfortable at this table.  I wasn’t sure where to sit.  I had nothing to say, but I listened.  Someone helped me turn the pages to find the place where we would feast that day until satisfied, and amazingly I had some leftovers to take with me and share with someone else.  (5 minutes)

Again, I am reminded of Ruth’s great grandson’s words in Psalm 34 – an invitation.

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.

And then, most assuredly the greatest invitation of all, the invitation of our Redeemer, our Bridegroom…  to the wedding banquet of the Lamb.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”  Revelation 19:9 esv

Ponders:

One of my favorite activities is to invite others to share in an activity with me.  If I want to take a walk, I invite someone to come along.  I love to invite a friend(s) to meet me for lunch or coffee.  Rather than assume, I even like to invite my husband to dinner and a movie (at home).

I don’t see inviting others as a specific gift listed in the Bible, but we are called to be hospitable.  At a specific point in time, I asked the Lord to teach me what it means to be hospitable and to show me what that looks like for me.  May I encourage you today… our Father is so good and faithful to answer our prayers when we ask Him to teach us.

  • Is the Lord inviting you to the table today?  Will you accept His invitation to dine with Him and to listen to Him and learn from Him?
  • Will you in turn invite someone else to the table?  Will you help a stranger to Jesus meet Him?  Will you introduce someone to Jesus today?  I’m taking the challenge myself to invite someone to ‘taste and see that the Lord is good’.

Eyes on Jesus…you’re Shining!

Today I have accepted the invitation of Kate Motaung to participate with the Five Minute Friday community to write on the Friday word prompt {invite}.  Thank you, Kate, for offering 31 word prompts for our 31-day writing challenge.  What a blessing!

Day 10: My daughter, will you {listen} to me?

So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me.  Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here.  Stay here with my servant girls.  Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the girls.  I have told the men not to touch you.  And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”  Ruth 2:8-9 niv

Then Ruth the Moabitess said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.'”  …So Ruth stayed close to the servant girls of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished.  And she lived with her mother-in-law.  Ruth 2:21 & 23 niv

31 days gleaning bushel of wheatRuth listened.  She listened with her heart and she listened with a desire to glean wisdom.

Ruth listened to Naomi and learned the ways of God’s people.  Better yet, she put into action all she had gleaned from Naomi.  Ruth’s behavior is evidence of her listening.

When Ruth found herself in the private audience of Boaz with whom she found favor, she listened.  His instructions (as were Naomi’s) were for her welfare.  Ruth couldn’t afford to be arrogant or dismissive or distracted from Boaz’s instructions.  Listening to him and obeying his directions could mean her safe dwelling – even her life.

{Listen}  Do I listen?

Maybe the better question is this:  Do I listen to instruction?  Do I take heed?

I am reminded of many memories of my childhood.  I could give you a number of examples of the ‘young me’ choosing not to listen to instructions.  However, I am inclined to relate a time I chose to really listen.  The stakes were high, and I knew it.

I was 6 years old when we moved to the house on 93rd Court in Perrine, Florida.  In those days children walked or rode their bikes to school, and I wanted to walk to Whispering Pines Elementary like the others.

My Dad, wise, was not going to send his little girl off walking to school without knowing the correct path.  I thought I could just follow the other kids and get there, but that was not a wise plan according to my Dad.  I needed to know the path for myself.  I needed landmarks, and I needed the assurance and confidence of knowing I was on the right path in case someone might try to lead me elsewhere.

So, we walked from our house toward the school, me and my Dad.  At each turn, we stopped…we looked around.  He asked me questions.  What do you see at this corner so you know to turn right?  What do you see here so you will know to turn left?  The one I remember best is the yellow house with the black shutters.  Turn left. Go up to the crosswalk and there it is – Whispering Pines Elementary School.

We practiced.  I listened.  I walked out all the steps I practiced with my Dad.  And on that first day when I arrived safely at school – all by myself – I was so proud and excited!  I didn’t get lost.  I was safe.  I had walked with all the other kids, but not following.  I walked confidently knowing the way.

me and dad

I was completely unaware my Dad was following a distance behind me in our VW bug… just to make sure his little girl made it safely on the way he taught her.

 

Blessed is the one who listens to me,
    watching daily at my gates,
    waiting beside my doors.
For whoever finds me finds life
    and obtains favor from the Lord, Proverbs 8:34-35 esv

Ponders:

Here I am this morning, finding myself wanting to glean with Ruth under the direction of my trustworthy Redeemer.

I need to listen, Lord Jesus.  I need to really stop and listen to Your instructions for my life.  Walk with me today in this uncharted territory.  Help me to stop with You and look around.  Show me the landmarks of Your Word and teach me Your way – Everlasting.  Thank You Holy Spirit, I never walk alone!

  • How about you, friend?  Would you like to glean with me in this field today?
  • As you ponder the two Scriptures below, what is Holy Spirit highlighting for you?  What does the Lord want you to know about your life journey?  Finding His way?  Following His directions?
  • Will you share your gleanings with the rest of us in the comments?

Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him.  Deuteronomy 13:4 nlt

(As Jesus was transfigured before his 3 disciples they experienced this)  And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”  And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.  Mark 9:6-8 esv

 

 

Day 9: So, what’s the {plan}?

As it turned out, she (Ruth) found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.  Ruth 2:3 niv

So, Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me.  Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here.  Stay here with my servant girls.  Watch the field where the men are harvesting and follow along after the girls.  I have told the men not to touch you.  And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.   Ruth 2:8 & 9 niv

So, what’s the {plan}?

That is the {plan}.  Naomi (teaching Ruth the ways of her people) and Boaz – they were each working the {plan}, which God set in place through the Mosaic Law* to care for the poor and widows.

That’s the {plan}.

field of wheat 31 days

I always want to know – what’s the {plan}?  Not because administration is my spiritual gift.  It’s not.  However, I am a first-born, responsible, feel-more-secure when I have structure and an outline kind of lady.  I often break the plan because there are not enough hours in a day to do everything I need and want to do.

Nevertheless, I like to know…  what’s the {plan}?

I love the multi-layered {plans} of God.  He has a good plan for us – His children.  He sets up a parameter within which we are able to participate in His plan for us.  While at the same time He, Sovereign God, is fulfilling His bigger plan set forth from before the foundation of the world.lamb grateful

The picture in my mind is a shepherd and his sheep.  The shepherd makes sure the sheep have a safe pasture in which to dwell, food to eat and clean water to drink.  The sheep have the responsibilities they are able to handle.  And the sheep do what they do – day in and day out.  Meanwhile, the Shepherd has a greater overarching plan with

Meanwhile, the Shepherd has a greater overarching plan with the far greater responsibility to ensure his sheep are safe from predators, remain healthy – free bugs, eating nutritious foliage, and drinking safe water, and on and on and on… The shepherd cares for his sheep and he is fulfilling his good plan to maintain a healthy and productive flock. (5 minutes)

Naomi and Ruth were both widows who were living in community and care for under the plan God set in place for them and many in similar circumstances.  Meanwhile, as each one – Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz – did the next thing they knew to do day by day, God was fulfilling His greater plan to send His Son, our true Redeemer.

Sometimes I want to know the bigger {plan}.  I can get distracted wondering what will happen to us?  Will there be another job for my husband?  Will he get well?  Should we sell our home?  Will I be alone?  Should I seek a higher paying job?

I can work myself into quite a teasy because I don’t have any of the answers to any of those bigger plan questions right now.  Each and every time as I fret and sob my way back to Jesus’ feet, He gently cups my chin and lifts my head to meet His eyes.  He reminds me – I am His sheep and He is my Shepherd.

 

Ponders:

All I need to do is my sheep stuff.  He’ll take care of the rest.  And this is where He leads me…  Psalm 37:1-7  There’s plenty here for me to take care of on a daily basis.  This is His plan for me today.  So, Lord, my Shepherd, remind me to do this sheep stuff today…and leave all the rest of the big plan to You… for You are able and I am not.  Thank You, Jesus-Shepherd, for loving me.  Amen.

Don’t worry about the wicked
    or envy those who do wrong.
For like grass, they soon fade away.
    Like spring flowers, they soon wither.

Trust in the Lord and do good.
    Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit everything you do to the Lord.
    Trust him, and he will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
    and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

Be still in the presence of the Lord,
    and wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
    or fret about their wicked schemes.

 

  • Does Psalm 37:1-7 help you to focus on what you can do today?  Do you see this as a {plan} you can fulfill?
  • What other Scripture do you find yourself going back to when you can’t figure out the bigger {plan}?
  • Would you share your own story of wanting to know the {plan}?  How did God meet your needs in the middle while He was fulfilling His bigger {plan} for your life and for His Kingdom?

 

* Leviticus 19:9, 23:22 and Deuteronomy 24:19