Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Overflowing Grace

Devotion: Ruth 3:14-18

Ruth took a great risk going to Boaz in the middle of the night. Her risk was met by the grace of Boaz who promised that Naomi would have redeemer and the matter would be resolved in the near term. The joy of the grace that night then turns to the first light of the new day. In that dawning light Boaz moves to be more gracious yet to Ruth.
"So she lay at his feet until the morning, but arose before one could recognize another. And he said, 'Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.' And he said, 'Bring the garment you are wearing and hold it out.' So she held it, and he measured out six measures of barley and put it on her. Then she went into the city. And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, 'How did you fare, my daughter?' Then she told her all that the man had done for her, saying, 'These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said to me, "You must not go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law." ' She replied, 'Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.' " -Ruth 3:14-18 ESV 
Boaz acts in grace toward Ruth in three ways: 1) He takes into account the awkward situation. Ruth has come to Boaz in the middle of the night and that might call her moral quality into question. They both know nothing untoward had occurred, but we all know how people can get to talking. Recall that miraculous virgin birth of our Lord caused speculation about Mary's virtue (see John 8:41). Rumors can destroy people and communities. A trusted pastor mentor once told me that gossip destroyed more churches than sexual immorality--but I would add that most salacious gossip is about sexual immorality. Boaz, knowing that a woman seen walking home from the threshing floor in the early morning would be viewed as questionable, makes moves to shield Ruth from the eyes of the rumor mill. We too can shield people from the gossip machine. First, we need to be sure not to take part in gossip ourselves. Second, we need to call out those who do. Finally, if we hear a rumor then we need to do our due diligence and investigate the claim before we accept the gossip as fact.
2) Boaz sends Ruth away with an abundance of barley. This serves two purposes. First, it legitimizes her being at the threshing floor should someone spy her out on the way home. Second, it provides for her needs. Of course, the matter of the redeemer is still to be settled, but in the meantime, Boaz in giving the six measures of barley pledges that he will make sure that the matter comes to a just conclusion. We can learn from this that while we are working for a just and holy conclusion to matters, that we can still provide in the short term. I think of the homeless situation in our community. While I long for transitional housing and treatment programs for addiction as well as adequate mental health care, I can still be involved in the short term providing a warm place for our homeless population to sleep. The long term goal is not sacrificed by meeting the short term need, but rather the long term goal remains in the forefront of discussion as the short term need is being met. In providing the barley Ruth and Naomi have enough to tide them over while the long term matter of the kinsman redeemer is resolved.
3) Boaz will indeed make a move to settle the kinsman redeemer problem. Naomi is in legitimate need and Boaz will see the matter resolved (Naomi's speculation is well-founded!). In essence, after the late night meeting Boaz resolves to see Ruth and Naomi settled one way or another. We can learn from this that Christ Jesus, our kinsman redeemer for the Kingdom of God, will see our matter settled himself. He has taken up our plight and will see an end to our need. Perhaps we can do likewise for others in need in our community, serving with grace out of the overflowing grace of Jesus.

The music for the next few weeks will be taken from the Porter's Gate Project. This is really excellent music and worth checking out: The Porter's Gate Worship Project

News for You:

  • The Okanogan Community Homeless Shelter is looking for volunteers to be overnight hosts on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at New Life Church in Okanogan.  Please see the sign-up sheet at the Welcome Center for available dates. Interested hosts can also come to a training at New Life Church in Okanogan on January 6 at 3 p.m.
  • We are seeking a part-time youth director. If you know of anyone who is qualified for the position, please contact the church.
  • Committee reports for the 110th Annual Congregational Meeting are due no later than Wednesday, January 10. The meeting itself will take place 1/21/18 after worship.
  • Beth Moore will be hosting her Living Proof Life Event at Overlake Christian Church in Redmond, WA from February 9-10.  Ladies, if you are interested in going, please sign up at the Welcome Center.
  • CPC is sending Rooshie Mintzer to Malaysia for a short-term mission trip in February 2018.  If you feel called to support her financially, please indicate so on your tithing. Also, there will be a chili feed fundraiser for Rooshie on January 20 at 5 p.m. Admission is $5, but there is no cap on what you can give to support our sister!
  • The men’s breakfast will be Saturday, January 13, at the church.  Breakfast is provided by Ron DeHaan and the devotional will be given by Elder Paul Freese.

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