gleaning, Robinson says, "The way led us through open fields, where the people were in the midst of the wheat-harvest. The beautiful tracts of grain were full of reapers of the Henady Arabs, and also of gleaners almost as numerous. These were mostly women; and this department seemed almost as important as the reaping itself, since the latter is done in so slovenly a manner, that not only much falls to the ground, but also many stalks remain uncut. In one field nearly 200 reapers and gleaners were at work, the latter being nearly as numerous as the former." As to threshing, Robinson mentions that "several women were beating out with a stick handfuls of the grain which they seemed to have gleaned." As to the parching of corn, the same writer says, "The grains of wheat, not yet fully dry and hard, are roasted in a pan or on an iron plate, and eaten along with bread, or instead of it." Boaz showed his practical sympathy with the widows of the narrative by giving parched corn to Ruth to eat, and by securing that her gleaning should be even more successful and abundant than was usual with the maidens.
I. Liberality to the poor should ACCORD WITH THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE GIVER.
II. It should TAKE A FORM ADAPTED TO THE WANTS OF THE RECIPIENT.
III. It should BE UNGRUDGING AND GRACEFUL IN ITS BESTOWAL.
IV. It should RE INSPIRED BY THE MEMORY OF THE UNDESERVED BOUNTY OF THE GREAT GIVER, GOD.
V. It should NOT COUNT UPON, though it may have occasion to rejoice in, THE GRATITUDE OF THE BENEFICIARY. - T.
1. Ruth was a gleaner; and so should we be. The Bible is that field. Search the Scriptures; glean there. Pick up every grain, for it contains precious nourishment. No matter how many gleaners; there is food enough for all.
I. NO LABOUR IS TOO INSIGNIFICANT FOR LOVE. "So she gleaned." She was of a good family, accustomed to a life of ease and plenty. That which she does now is anything but dignified.
So she gleaned in the field until even.1. Gleaners in gospel-fields should continue in their gleaning work from morning to evening. How many are but half Sabbath folk, that can spare to spend a morning in Sabbath service, but are for their pastimes after that! Ruth was none of those lazy gleaners.
2. Though God be very bountiful to us, yet will He have us to use all the means in a way of subserviency to His bounty. God will give us at the second-hand what He would not give us at first-hand; He will give us grace and knowledge by the use of the means, which He gives not immediately from Himself. "God sells all for labour," saith Hesiod.
1. A work for the commonest powers.
2. A work for the commonest people.
3. A work whose results bear no comparison to the expenditure of labour.
4. A work in which is redone that which has been considered as done.Men measure the worth of work by its conspicuousness. The real worth of work lies in meeting the necessity for its existence, and the motive which inspires it. Two lives depend upon her toil — then her work has worth; she loves the woman for whom she toils — then her work has dignity. Her love consecrates lowest means for highest ends.
II. NO RESULTS OF LABOUR ARE TOO INSIGNIFICANT FOR CARE. She "beat out that she had gleaned."(S. B. Rees.)
2. Alas, how many careless ones there are, who never glean at all! They loiter all the day of their life idle. And so, when night comes, they sink into eternity with nothing done.
3. Others, again, begin when Ruth leaves off, at even. All the bright and sunny portion of their lives they give to the world.
4. Ruth began gleaning in the morning. She felt that every hour must be employed; that every moment was precious. She laboured diligently. May we make God's Word our daily study!
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