After unpacking how to Give-as-you-go, I realize there is another important quality we can practice from the book of Ruth: gleaning.
As I mentioned before, gleaning is the “gathering of extra.” One of my college ladies pointed out that Ruth had an incredible attitude as she was gleaning. She was grateful, kind, confident, and unselfish. (Read Ruth 2 for more).
One way or another, we are all gleaning from someone. Have you ever received
- hand-me-down clothes/furniture?
- free tutoring?
- someone paying for your meal or coffee?
When someone tries to offer me this, I tend to be unreceptive. Depending on the gift, I end up in one of these categories:
- Self-entitled (well I deserved that anyway). I tend to do this with good grades or positive critiques on my hard work.
- Reluctant (I don’t want to impose). When someone offers to open the door, or help carry my groceries, I hesitate.
- Prideful (I don’t need your “charity”). My self-reliance rears its ugly head when it comes to paying for a meal.
- Snobbish (that gift wasn’t all that super). I don’t often receive a sermon, teaching, or study material that I don’t connect with. I think, “I’ve heard better,” and dismiss the entire content.
I am very ashamed to admit all of these. Sure, I can be good at giving my stuff, time, money, and space… but I need to learn to receive well. Ruth was grateful, not demanding or pushy. She didn’t reject Boaz’s gift. Nor did she put it all aside for someone less fortunate (though she did save some for her mother-in-law).
My goal is to glean with the right heart. I want to have a teachable spirit when I listen to a sermon. I want to have a grateful heart when someone offers to pay for my meal. I would like to be graceful and respectful when a person holds the door for me. My humility should shine, like Ruth’s, when God uses others to care for me.
I cannot think of a better way to describe Ruth’s heart, and the one I hope to have, than this quote (by former basketball player John Wooden):
There you have it. Give-as-you-go, and glean-with-a-grateful-heart. That’s how I am asking God to grow me this season. How about you?