Kindness and compassion are looked at by some in society as signs of weakness in a leader. Truly effective leaders can hardly function without them. Read Ruth 2:4-17.
Boaz was a wealthy, influential landowner and farmer from Bethlehem. He was a respected leader in his community. Did you notice that the first words out of his mouth when Boaz came out to check on the progress of the harvesters were “The Lord be with you”? He gave a blessing to his workers and they enthusiastically called back “The Lord bless you.” From their response they knew something about this man, his relationship with God and how he treated people.
One of my mom’s 10,000 sayings was “you can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving.” Leaders who fail to display generosity should ask themselves if they really love the people they lead. Read Ruth 2:8-4:10.
Boaz was a leader that modeled generosity. He owned a large field and employed reapers to gather his harvest. According to Jewish law, when the harvesters had finished, the less fortunate were allowed to “glean” in the field, taking whatever the harvesters had left behind. Ruth was one of the “gleaners” in Boaz’s field.
Leaders need courage, determination and healthy alliances to venture out and follow God. Read Ruth 1:1-18 and 2:11-12.
Seldom has a woman needed courage, determination and a healthy alliance more then Ruth. When she lost her husband, Ruth was left without any male familial support (1:4-5), a situation that in her culture left a woman destitute. In the midst of her circumstances, Ruth displayed great courage and loyalty when she made an alliance with Naomi, another woman without male familial support. She committed to go where Naomi went, accept Naomi’s people as her people and Naomi’s God as her God in return for Naomi’s love and care for her as a mother.
Through a set of very unfortunate circumstances Naomi became the leader of her family. She had a choice to become bitter or trust God. She made the right choice and drew others to God. Re-read the book of Ruth.
Naomi, her husband and two sons left Jerusalem in Judah and went to Moab to avoid the results of a famine. Her husband died shortly after the move and Naomi is left to live with her two sons and their Moabite wives for the next ten years. After the untimely death of her two sons, Naomi was left very vulnerable as a widow with two daughters-in-law in a foreign land and no male in the extended family.
The actions of effective godly leaders demonstrate their basic understanding that faithfulness precedes fruitfulness, character precedes conduct and responsibilities precede results. Read Ruth 1-4.
The book of Ruth reminds leaders that God honors the qualities of loyalty, commitment and integrity. Ruth remained committed to doing the right thing, and God surprised her by meeting her every need and more. The book of Ruth illustrates that when leaders focus on doing what is right, God will bless the fruit of their labor. The book of Ruth is testimony to the fact that leaders need to put “being” before “doing.”