The story of Ruth is one that is told many times. It’s shared from the earliest Sunday School class, to the preaching found in conferences around the world. It’s a story of faith. When we study Ruth, we often stop at her profound statement in verse 1:16. She boldly declared that wherever her mother-in-law went she would go too. She would abandon all she knew for the sake of another. Simply because she had faith that she was supposed to. She put her faith in a woman that was embittered by life at that moment. She put her faith in the God that she had begun to hear so much about.
These were wonderful and powerful steps of faith, but if we stop looking at the story there, we will miss the next and possibly bigger steps of faith that Ruth took. It’s a step that she took all by herself. For you see she was an outsider in this land that she had followed her mother-in-law to. As such, she was talked about and avoided. Her mother-in-law was too embittered to help her. Ruth was alone but she had faith. She stepped out in faith and began to work the harvest. Not because she was bored and needed something to do, or because she felt pressured to do it. She stepped out because she knew that life and death were to be found within the harvest. She understood the importance of one little piece of grain that she could glean.
Her goal when she humbly stepped out in faith to work the harvest was not to find someone to marry or to acquire respect. It was simply to find life. Yet because of her faith and her pure motives, she was blessed with not only someone to marry and respect, but also a lineage.
We often hear about the harvest is ready to work, but do we have ahold of the revelation that Ruth had? Do we understand that life and death lay within the harvest? There is a world that is waiting for us to humbly come and begin to work the harvest. They are waiting for us to put aside our feelings of pride, bitterness, and become the least of them and begin to glean the field. Gleaning was not something done by the well-to-do or the proud. It was for the lowest of the low; those with nothing to lose.
Working the fields isn’t about the recognition or the respect of those around you. We never read once where Ruth came home from working the field and demanded the respect of her mother-in-law for working to save them. No matter what happened she stayed humble and faithful to the work at hand. We need to get ahold of that determination that says no matter what you think I know there is value in this one.
Ruth was a foreigner in a foreign land. She was most likely an outsider and judged by those around her but she stayed faithful to the work. While those around her gossiped about her and her situation, she just kept on working. You see, it doesn’t matter what those around you say. What matters is whether or not you are faithful to the land you have been called to. Though the work, the land, and the people may all seem foreign to you, if you just keep working, those people will become your people.
It’s time for the Ruths of this world to humbly step out and begin to till the land. As we have heard so often, “The harvest is ready.” It’s simply waiting for the workers. Are you ready to take that step?
Akilah is currently an English Major at Arizona State University. She has taken courses in journalistic writing, studying the writings of classical works, as well as the way that languages are used throughout different cultures. In addition, She currently writes lessons for her job, Sunday School class, and personal writings such as poetry and short stories.