Speak a Blessing or Be a Blessing

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I love the interaction of Boaz and Ruth. Boaz has heard about Ruth and what she sacrificed for her mother-in-law and pronounces a blessing on her (2:12 NIV), “May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” He could have stopped there as we too often do. It is easy to proclaim a blessing upon someone, wish them well and encourage them to go with God—key word “go.” When we find ourselves around the sad stories, destroyed lives and distraught sufferers it can be easier to pull away. Of course we don’t want to sound callous so we proclaim some blessing on them, “May God bless you,” or promise, “I’ll pray for you.” We appear spiritual while ignoring their pleas. This is the easy way to handle hurting and suffering around us, but as with most of the Christian life, God seldom expects to take the easy way.

Instead of simply verbally blessing Ruth, Boaz knows that it is up to him to be that blessing for her. He encourages her to stay in his fields, eat his food and drink from the same vessels as his servants. He also tells those who would be guarding his interests to not harm the woman and to secretly make it easier for her to glean (2:16NIV)—“Rather pull out some stocks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up and do not rebuke her.” Boaz understood that God blesses through the actions of His people. While He could miraculously provide for Ruth, God had ordained Boaz as her miracle. In the same way, when God brings people your way, it is for you to help them. For too long the Church has forfeited blessings they could only receive through blessing others. We all get busy and tied up in life; however, this too often masks apathy.  Don’t be the person that says, “Go with God and be blessed.” Be the person that says, “Here I am God, bless others through me.”

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