Gleaning the truth

As I understand the culture of the time, Ruth was doubly outcast. She was a foreigner (a Moabite) AND she was a widow. She had none of the normal support structure that the other members of the Israelite community would have enjoyed. Yet she decided to follow Naomi anyway. When they got to Naomi’s homeland, Ruth had to find a way to support herself. So she took to gleaning in the barley fields. What that meant was that she went through the fields that had already been harvested, looking for anything that the hired workers might have missed. Whatever she found would be what she, and probably Naomi, would live on.  Fortunately for her, she was taken under the wing of Boaz, a wealthy member of Naomi’s family.

This may be a stretch, but the idea of “gleaning” struck me from this. Specifically how it relates to us today, and our economic practices. The Bible recognizes that the poor are a fact of life, but it ALSO instructs that the poor should be provided for. The fields should not be stripped bare. There should be a remainder left for those in need. These gleanings were not a “handout.” It’s just a case of the wealthy NOT greedily taking every last scrap available to them. I think we could learn from that. We seem to have the attitude of “It’s mine. I earned it. Get your own.” This leaves the less fortunate with nothing to glean. No way to sustain themselves.

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