Fall is an amazing time. Shorter days & cooler temperatures. Football games & Fall Festivals. It’s a celebration waiting to happen almost every weekend. Why so many homecomings & mini-feasts during this time of the year?
In a time lost to many of us, the Fall was a celebration of the provision that another year of crop raising and animal husbandry had experienced. Back in the day, there would be Harvest Festivals and ‘Hog Killings’, all accompanied by food and friends and gratitude.
One of my favorite Fall Festival stories is the one of a land-owning farmer named Boaz and a hard-working immigrant named Ruth. You can find it in the Bible in the book by her name. While these two persons could not be from more opposite backgrounds, in the end they come together as husband and wife. He is ‘well-heeled’, an entrepreneurial employer reaping a harvest from the land he has inherited among his people. She, on the other hand, is a widow and a foreigner, destitute and outside of the socially esteemed circles in which she finds herself. How could it be that they come together? What could they possibly have in common?
Well, as you read the story, you see that the common thread in both persons is not their circumstance, but their character. Both had been faithful – Boaz as an older bachelor and Ruth to the mother of her deceased husband. Both had cared for others before themselves – Ruth in her loyalty to Naomi in spite of Naomi's bitterness and Boaz in his generosity to the foreigners seeking to glean from his produce in order to survive. Both had entrusted themselves to the eternal, all-knowing, good God.
You see, bitter circumstances and disenfranchised perspectives do not negate kindness in character. In spite of him not being married younger or her having lost the spouse of her youth, both persons demonstrate a kindness that is beyond what any of us would have naturally. There is something different about them and their outlook on life that has influenced the way they behave and how they treat others.
Romans 2:4 notes that ‘…God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance…’ How has He shown His kindness, you might ask? Much like Ruth or Boaz, you may have hurt and loss and much lack in your life. But the truth of the matter is that God, in great kindness, sent Jesus to live, to love us and to actually give Himself as a sacrifice – providing an eternity of blessing and intimacy with Him – an eternity that begins right now! His kindness drives our faithfulness, regardless of the hardship or the delay of the moment.
So when you are enjoying the great outdoors this Fall, remember the One who provides the food you enjoy, the crisp air that you breathe, the work that is yours to oversee and, above all else, the goodness of your life given in the year past and promise of great life in your eternal future!
 Ruth 1:16-17; 2:4; 3:10