As my children get older I find myself giving them different types of advice than I did just a couple of years ago. For Zach, who is in high school, I’m talking to him about the importance of a good first impression. I advise him to make eye-contact, to shake hands firmly, to speak up and don’t mumble! We talk about leadership, and taking initiative. I’m constantly urging them to enter contests--art contests, photo contests, etc., as these are the precursors to the scholarships they will soon need to apply. Even now, I tell Zach, he doesn’t know who he may come in contact with when he is with me. In the next year, he may be looking for a part-time job. It could just be that he gets his foot in the door by attending an event with me and showing initiative and leadership. I’m sure my parents had similar conversations with me, and probably my response was similar to my son’s--nonchalance. I do believe the ability to recognize God-given opportunities is a form of wisdom.
In the book of Ruth, Naomi and Ruth are both widows living in Judah. For food, the younger, Ruth, picks up grain dropped by the harvesters. She is spotted by Boaz who inquires about her. He tells the workers to be nice to her, not to bother her, and even tells them to drop some extra for her to glean. Each day she goes home with plenty. (Ruth 3:1-4) “One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, ‘My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for. Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.’”
Ruth does as Naomi suggests. While sleeping with his feet uncovered, something startles Boaz and awakens him, he initially doesn’t recognize Ruth, all clean and pretty. (Ruth 3:9-10) “’Who are you?' he asked. ‘I am your servant Ruth,’ she said. ‘Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.’” Boaz, a decent and respectable man, is flattered, but tells her that there is another man, a younger man, who would be ahead of him in relation to her deceased husband and father-in-law who would have the right to marry her. The next day he checks with the man, he declines, so Boaz marries Ruth.
Naomi, I believe recognized an opportunity that Ruth did not see. The older, wiser Naomi was thinking of Ruth’s future and wanted better for her than she could provide. She knew Ruth to be a good woman, and based on what Ruth had said of how Boaz interacted with her and his harvesters, he was a good man--plus he was a relative so he could be her guardian-redeemer. Naomi recognized that Boaz was such a good man, that he had not made any advances towards Ruth, and that he might never do such a thing unless she somehow told him of her interest and availability. Naomi’s plan worked. Boaz and Ruth were married and later gave birth to a son named Obed, who later became the father of Jesse, who became the father of King David.
As the older, wiser parents, we must sometimes prompt our children to action, so they will be ready when opportunity presents itself. Their view is limited by their years of experience. Even if their initial response is nonchalance, we still owe them the benefit of our wisdom.
Thank you for reading!
Stay positive this week!
Copyright 2018 by Kimberly Griffith Anderson
If you like this style of writing, you will enjoy Turn North: A 30-Day Devotional and Journal written by the author of this blog.