The Small Acts
“. . . let her glean even among the sheaves, . . .” Ruth 2:15
Barriers are broken by an act of generosity. Giving changes heavy hearts. Two people who had been strangers to each other, living separate lives, sometimes living only blocks away from each other, had for so long existed in separate worlds. Each filled with their own cares, priorities, and concerns, suddenly meet each other over a simple act of kindness and generosity. In each of their worlds, a moment of goodness is created and something new comes into being where before there was nothing. True giving is not only an economic exchange, it’s a generative act. It doesn’t subtract from what we have – it multiplies the effect we have in the world.
The spirit of generosity spread from one to another in the cornfield of Bethlehem. It was the spirit of generosity that caused all to think of sharing with others the blessings they had received. The example of generosity was set by Boaz, the proprietor of the land. We must not forget that a good example is always contagious.
Boaz, the kinsman-redeemer, seeing a woman threadbare and widowed, invites her to glean all she needs in his field. The men working the field came from all types of backgrounds. They were rough, they were rude, and now, at harvest time, they were in mixed company. They followed Boaz’s example and extended generosity to the widow gleaner. They received her in the field, and later, welcomed her into their circle and shared a meal with her.
Ruth extended the generosity she had been shown by Boaz and the workers. Ruth thought of another widow. She remembered Naomi at home, penniless, childless, and husbandless. She shared with Naomi her gleanings, along with some of the corn which the reapers had roasted for her.
Giant heroic acts of giving are easier because we know others are watching. It’s in the small acts of giving we find what people are really made of. Ruth bringing home supper, a portion of her own gleanings, is a seeming insignificant act. Ruth never dreamed anyone would ever know about it. She never thought anyone would be reading and studying her story. But small acts reveal our true disposition. True generosity can’t be faked.
Today make it a point to commit some small acts of generosity.