John and I bought a beautiful Victorian Sunday School print of Ruth and Naomi many years ago. I love it and have generally tried to keep it in the living area of our homes.

Who doesn’t love the story of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz?

Many years ago, John drew my attention to an interesting feature of the story – perhaps one you have thought of yourself.

Ruth and Naomi were in a vulnerable situation – two widows living together, one of whom was elderly. God had provided for people in need and his plan of action was put into effect in their lives.

Boaz, as a faithful Israelite man left grain in his fields for the poor. But Ruth had to work, and work hard, to harvest this grain for their use. Boaz did not have his men harvest it for them and deliver it to their door. Why? Because God did not mandate any such thing. It was not part of His provision for the able-bodied poor – even two widows – at least, if work was available to them.

My mind has been so conformed to a social-welfare type society that I admit I find this shocking. But God is always thinking of the greater good, isn’t he? Both for society with its limited power (at least ideally) and resources, and of the individual’s sense of worth and dignity.

Another thought:

Have you ever told your children that God is not fair? That, instead, he is just. I have. I am sure we all have. But there is, indeed, one place in Scripture where God implements his own “Fairness Doctrine.”

Regarding Paul’s desire for the various churches to collect money for the poor in Jerusalem he says:

“….your abundance at the present time should supply their need….that there may be fairness…”

Isn’t that interesting? Paul did not demand that church members contribute to this suffering church but he did want them to know that it was unfair not to. (These people could not be self-sustaining, as Ruth and Naomi were, because of persecution) My Reformation Study Bible comments, “Paul calls for equity rather than strict equality.”

As Schaeffer said, “Compassionate Capitalism”…