Bringing in the sheaves!
I am a believer in the welfare system – for what it was originally set up to do. To HELP someone out who is in a bind and to get up on their own two feet. I was a single Mom for years and I would have qualified but there was a stubborn streak in me and I resisted! I was very blessed with good jobs and I worked hard. Then I was laid off and I got afraid of not making it. I received a decent unemployment and my three kids and I did a lot of paring down.
The car, a brown VW Rabbit, got parked and it sat in our driveway. We each had a bicycle and mine had a carrier seat for 3-year old Michael. We rode our bikes everywhere. Even to the beach – a good three mile ride, one way. Michael and I rode around the neighborhood looking for aluminum cans to recycle – he learned which ones to point out and which ones to ignore. I knew how to stretch a grocery budget and still fed our little clan of four fairly well.
It was my season of gleaning!
Nothing was wasted. Not one dollar, or one tip of advice. My season of gleaning was bountiful and we were blessed. The lessons I learned through those hard months have served me well in my life and I am grateful for the hardship.
The first recorded welfare system!
The true story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz. I am going to do a Susan Condensed Version of the entire Old Testament book of Ruth. Ready?
A certain man of Bethlehem, Elimilech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion left Bethlehem, “the house of bread,” and moved to Moab because of a severe famine. God did NOT tell Elimilech to go – he got scared and went.
While in Moab, his two sons married Moabite women, also known as pagans, Ruth and Orpah. Mr. Elimilech died. Then, Mahlon and Chilion died. So, there was Naomi with her two daughters-in-law and they were in a bad way. Women without men back then were out of luck, out of food, out of money, out of just about everything. Moab became their house of dead.
From the house of dead back to the house of bread!
Naomi decides to go back to Bethlehem – to her family. She packs up and the two daughters-in-law decide to go with her. But, Naomi, will not have it. She clearly tells them they must stay in Moab with their families and perhaps marry again. Orpah thinks that is a good idea and stays in Moab – but, Ruth? No way.
Where you go, Naomi, I will go. Your God will be my God. [I’m all in and I’m going with you! My translation!]
So, they said good-bye to Orpah (not Oprah) and off they went – a long journey by foot. They arrived in Bethlehem and Naomi’s family was so happy to see her, but alas, Naomi told them not to be happy for her because she came back empty and bitter. [Not a good declaration over oneself.]
Ruth decides to do something to help their lot in life – and she asks Naomi if she can go out and glean in the fields of cousin Boaz (related by way of her dead father-in-law).
Ruth says, “Perhaps I will find favor in his eyes.”
The story continues and has a very happy ending – and a very blessed beginning because Ruth not only found favor in Boaz’ eyes – he fell madly in love with her, they got married and had a baby boy, Obed. Obed’s son was Jesse, Jesse’s son was David and the lineage continues all the way to JESUS! [I encourage you to read the whole book of Ruth – a story of hope! Read it here.]
It’s all seasonal!
Why am I sharing these stories with you? Because here’s the truth…
All of us are in a season of some kind. Some of us are in a season of lack. Some, a season of sowing. Some, a season of reaping. Some, a season of favor… it’s the rhythm of life. Seasons come and seasons go but it is imperative for us, as believers and followers of Christ, to flow in these seasons – to learn, to glean, to grow.
Let whatever season you are in teach you – you will never regret it.
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Today’s yellow rose in the graphic is in honor of my mom, Terry Chamberlain. March 7, 1926 – October 27, 2012.