Boaz asked his foreman, “Who is that young woman over there?…the foreman replied, “She is the young woman from Moab who came back with Naomi…Boaz went over and said to Ruth, “Listen, my daughter. Stay right here with us when you gather grain; don’t go to any other fields.—Ruth 2:5-8
People have a difficult time relating to God. I realize some have grown so disenchanted with the idea of God that they are no longer even trying, but most people have a God-sized emptiness in their life they are trying to fill, even if they don’t know it.
Two common misconceptions about God misguide us in our efforts to relate to him.
Boaz went over and said to Ruth…
This is a picture of how God approaches people.
Boaz approached Ruth. She did not introduce herself to Boaz. The rich land owner was not obligated to meet her. The needy immigrant had no right to converse with Boaz. Why did the introduction take place?
God, the Creator, owes us nothing. As needy, fallen creatures we have nothing to offer him that he needs. Why would he come to us?
Here is a secret to the inner life: We don’t find God—he moves towards us. It is called grace. The Holy One, the Almighty, the Lover of Souls—he comes to us first. We don’t approach him.
It was Boaz who noticed Ruth. It was Boaz who took the initiative to speak to Ruth. It was Boaz who freely offered Ruth what she needed. She needed grace. She needed someone to see her and care. Someone to not hold her past against her. To give her a voice. To offer her a future she did not deserve. To extend an opportunity she could not earn. God’s grace does all of that and more for us.
One of our human struggles is assuming that we deserve opportunity because we exist. Another is believing that we are entitled to blessings because we prop God up with our beliefs and morality. Ruth was doing the best she could with the strength she had. It was here that Boaz approached her.
God is still in the business of approaching people, but it is the humble, broken person who is extended grace first. God will not waste the opportunities grace offers on those looking to make bargains. He does not extend the future grace provides to those who feel entitled to it. God gives proud skeptics a cold shoulder, but if we are down on our luck, he is right there to help.*
Quit trying to bargain with God. Stop attempting to believe him into blessing you. Be you. Work with what you have. Humble yourself. Wait. He will approach you and extend grace.
I Need a Miracle by Third Day is a song that reminds me I need God’s grace. May it do the same for you.
* Proverbs 3:34 from The Message