Tuesday, May 21
Generosity: The fruit of obedience
“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:9-10 (ESV)
“When [Ruth] rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, ‘Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.’ So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley.” Ruth 2:15-17 (ESV)
God has always commanded his people to live generously. And when we obey, God may accomplish mighty things.
By choosing to live generously, Boaz delivered Ruth and Naomi out of destitution. He probably understood the impact of his generosity in their lives. But the fruit of his actions did not stop there. Jesus’ lineage traces back to Boaz and Ruth. We benefit from this man’s munificence. Boaz could not have possibly grasped that the simple, generous act of leaving behind some grain and grapes during harvest would blossom across the millennia and into eternity.
Do not fall prey to the falsity that Boaz was exceptional. He was no different than us. He did not have a unique gift of generosity. He did not conjure up the idea of leaving behind grain in his field on his own. He simply obeyed what God asked him to do. And God blessed his obedience. God’s blessing of Boaz’s generosity was, indeed, exceptional. He may not bless our generosity so radically. But then again, he just might.
We can add a bit to our definition. Generosity is the obedient, sacrificial giving of something precious for another’s betterment.
Question: Opportunities to leave behind unharvested grain or grapes may no longer manifest in our lives, but what other practical ways has God commanded his people to live generously? How might you incorporate them into your daily grind?