I think that every word in Scripture is there for a reason: God's very efficient, and as my pastor once said, he’s incapable of small talk. The first verse of Ruth told us that this is set during the times of the Judges, which was certainly not a spiritual highpoint for Israel. The last five chapters of Judges are particularly depressing, and you might get the impression from reading it that the entire nation was caught up in the general spiritual decay and apostasy. While it might be true that the general situation was grim, this didn’t mean that there were no faithful people during this time.
Today’s passage illustrates this beautifully. Boaz is presented as a godly and friendly man, greeting his employees with a hearty “The LORD be with you!” and his workers welcome him to the fields in a similar way. Apparently he was kind and just in his dealings with them, since this exchange hints at a warm relationship.
But what's very striking about Boaz is his obedience to God’s law. Remember how the Lord told his people to provide for the poor? During this time of general disobedience, it would have been easy for Boaz to simply look at his “bottom line” and say “You know, my neighbor set up an idol in his front yard. Compared to him, I’m a saint! Surely God won’t care if I follow that inconvenient gleaning law.” When everyone is looking for new ways to flout the Lord's standards, it’s really tempting to compare ourselves with the average sinner and act like he grades on a curve. He doesn’t.
I'm well aware that America is nowhere near where she should be when it comes to faithfulness to the Lord and his word. I don’t expect Non-Christians to be obedient any more than I expect a dead man to walk around; I do, however, expect Christians to act different from our lost friends. Unfortunately, there are lots of alleged believers who ought to know better who're adding to the problem instead of being salt and light. The divorce rates of both Christians and non-Christians are waaaaaaay too similar, the mere word of a Christian in the business world means nothing in terms of honesty, and faithfulness to God’s standards is a rarity.
If you let this get you down, then let this encourage you: Even in the worst of times, when it looks like people who are trying to follow God are nowhere to be found, the Lord still has his faithful ones. I know that you’re a sinner just like me, but if you’re attempting to be pleasing and obedient to Jesus, I promise you that you’re not alone. In God’s eyes, you’re like a diamond on velvet. Read Hebrews 6:10, and let your Father speak to you.
Lord Jesus, I want to be the salt and light you want me to be. Way too often, I’m part of the problem instead of the solution. Please change me.