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Begin Like Boaz

By Marlene Houk

Burke CountyMarlene Houk Burke County

Ruth 3:13 “Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”

As an ESL teacher (English as a Second Language), I learned that, just like Boaz in the verse above, certain areas of life remained the same regardless of one’s ethnicity or location. Families thrived wherever people lived, and the roles of mother, father, and child defined the unit. No matter the hometown, all humans naturally smile. And, respect is understood the world over. Belief in a higher power, and, in much of the world, a strong conviction in the existence of God, influenced all parts of life. These areas of life existed in the ancient world of the Bible also.

In the book of Ruth in the Bible, Boaz, the owner of the field where Ruth gathered wheat and barley, understood the life-giving values of family, human relationships, respect, and God. Ruth, a young widow in the Bible who cared for her grieving mother-in-law, Naomi, met Boaz in his field. His godly character fulfilled her need for family, guided her in her new Jewish culture, treated her with respect, and examined the character of Naomi’s God. Boaz changed her life for the better. During a time when she hungered for acceptance and respect, He showed attentiveness and readiness to provide for her. He cleared a path for her social admittance into Jewish life despite the stigma of her Moabite citizenship. Every decision and word toward her reflected his intense desire to follow God.

Like Jesus, Boaz committed himself to care for Ruth and Naomi by offering her a seat at his table and sharing his water and food. He also gifted her with extra grain as she left for home. Her needs rather than his lack of sleep assumed top priority when she appeared during the night at his bedside. Promising Ruth and Naomi a way out of their poverty, he patiently explained to her non-native ears the Jewish system of redemption by which he lived.

Boaz reminds us of Jesus, fulfilling others’ needs with kindness and generosity. When the Lord ushers Ruth into our lives, we can fill their necessities from our abundance. As we underscore our actions with patience toward others, we reveal godly character. Following the example of Boaz, we connect our Christianity to our daily lives. And the sweet simple fruit of Galatians 5:22—love, patience, kindness, and more—drops from the branches of our lives into the hungry hearts of those in need.

Ruth learned another godly character trait from Boaz—the difficult art of waiting. When Ruth must have felt a strong desire to act on her own behalf in Ruth 3:13 and secure for herself and Naomi their right to family, Boaz—like Jesus—advised differently. He lovingly asked Ruth to remain, to be redeemed, and to rest. We, as readers, might respond like Ruth at first and feel compelled to act. But consider Jesus who tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 to ‘cast all our care upon Him.’ Pausing in our frantic pursuit of success, dropping control of our lives at Jesus’ feet, and rolling our cares onto His strong shoulders offer sweet relief. Like Boaz, we simply wait on Jesus.

Being like Boaz suggests that we develop godly character through spiritual disciplines before striding into life’s busy highways. Committed to Christ, we notice how He leads us to help people on their journey. We offer spiritual survival guides, acting as the hands and feet of Jesus. Though often, we need much patience, God nourishes our souls from His refreshing fountain of spiritual water—His living Word. Join me in the challenge of being like Boaz: who focused on the worldwide God-ordained areas of family, relationships, respect, and following Him.

When I acted more like Boaz: following God’s precepts and principles, my ESL students thrived in learning English. And, best of all, being like Boaz fulfilled my desire to be like Christ.


Marlene is an author and teacher of Bible studies. She may be reached at

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Blue Ridge Christian News covers Avery County, Burke County, McDowell County, Mitchell County, Yancey County, and Madison County in North Carolina, and Christian news from around the country.