By Coretta Gomes
"Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not with holden the request of his lips." Psalms 21:2
“...And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.” Ruth 2:16
I love the book of Ruth! There is so much to glean from it! Recently while reading through it, the phrase “handfuls of purpose” caught my attention. Those “handfuls of purpose,” or those desires of the heart, come from our heavenly Father! As I reflect back over this past year, I can name several times where I prayed for a need and the Lord answered not only my need, but gave me far more than even the desires of my heart.
Even more special is when you see God giving your children the desires of their hearts. My daughter shared with me how God had given her a desire of heart even though she didn’t even ask for it and had told no one about it. I simply told her, “That is just how our heavenly Father is!” Just as we parents want to give our children a special treat from time to time, our heavenly Father gives us those “handfuls of purpose.” But why would the God of Heaven give us those “handfuls of purpose” and show favor? There were a few things that I noticed in Ruth’s life that can be applied to our Christian walk.
So how did a lowly Moabitess receive “handfuls of purpose” and earn such favor?
First, we see how Ruth left everything and everyone behind to follow Naomi and her God, “...thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God” (Ruth 1:16). The Bible doesn’t go into detail, but I can imagine that her friends and family told her she had lost her mind to follow Naomi into an unknown land and serve Naomi’s God, how she would not be able to see them ever again, and that she was abandoning her family. We all have them, those family members and friends that think we are crazy to want to live right or believe that we are being “overboard” or overprotective with our children.
However, none of this deterred Ruth. She must have seen something in Naomi’s life that gave her the desire to have a relationship with Naomi’s people and her God. As Christians, we leave those things and relationships behind that are not pleasing to God. Our desire should be to please our heavenly Father, not our friends, family, and this world.
Secondly, we see that Ruth had a servant's heart, “..Let me now go to the field...” (Ruth 2:2). She was willing to labor with her hands. Working in the field is hard work! For sure she was hot and sweaty, most likely had blisters on her hands, sore feet and legs, and an aching back. We do not read about her grumbling and complaining. None of these things deterred her from doing what she knew had to be done. She was determined to bring home enough food for Naomi and herself.
We should not be afraid of hard work or above doing the “dirty” jobs. We should have a servant's heart no matter what task is set before us and do our best with a joyful spirit. I think of Ruth as being a sweet and loving person. One who did her job with the right kind of spirit and not begrudgingly.
Lastly, we see Ruth’s devotion. Her reputation as a dedicated daughter-in-law had preceded her. “...It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law...” (Ruth 2:11). Boaz had already heard throughout the town of her devotion to Naomi. He saw in Ruth one who was willing to dedicate her time to take care of her mother-in-law. We should be dedicated to taking care of our families needs both physically and spiritually.
Most importantly, they should see that we are dedicated to the Lord! Nothing speaks louder than our actions!
The book of Ruth is a reminder of God’s favor towards those who serve Him with a genuine heart. Psalms 37:4 says “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” By following Ruth’s example in our lives, our heavenly Father treats us with those “handfuls of purpose” when we delight in Him. I do not deserve God’s many blessings, but when I follow, serve, and devote myself to Him, our heavenly Father will show His favor by giving those “handfuls of purpose”- those desires of the heart!