So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah. She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough. Ruth 2:17-18 (NIV)
My daughter encouraged me to read the book, Giddy Up, Eunice – Because Women Need Each Other. It’s written by Sophie Hudson and it’s a good thing I have a husband from the South or she might intimidate me with all her Southern analogies. Her writing is downright funny. Being a California girl but raised by a mom who had some southern leanings, I get ‘most of what she is saying. And, because I love mentoring young moms, I’m always looking for ways to help them know that tomorrow is another day and they will make it.
Several chapters are about the story of Naomi and Ruth. I’d never given much thought to the idea of “gleanings” but learned from the book the importance of those leftover pieces of grain, dropped by the main harvesters, to those who followed behind. For some, it was life and death, starvation or a full stomach — such was the story of Ruth.
But the “gleanings” part started me thinking. Days are full, calendars are crammed, chores never completely done. Children are calling, husbands need attention, laundry and food preparation seem endless. How do we meet the needs of those “following behind”? How do we use our leftover bits of time to meet the needs of a fellow traveler and friend?
Start by paying attention to more than just your little world. Listen to comments as you wait to pick up kids, notice Facebook or Instagram posts that indicate a family in need. (Think of flooding in Baton Rouge.) Check the prayer requests from your church. Be aware!
When God nudges you to remember a person, send a text or email to let them know you are thinking and praying for them. Drop a card in the mail. Make dinner and drop off in disposable containers. Take a turn at the hospital so they can get outside for a little fresh air.
Mark has been hospitalized several times in our married life for one thing or another. Normally, I’m alone in the waiting room or his hospital room for the duration. At times, I prefer it so that I don’t have to worry about conversation. But I will never forget the time that he was in the emergency room waiting for a room to become available, and I walked into the lobby to see all the members of my small group there to support us. What a surprise and joy! One immediately asked me what I wanted to eat from In-n-Out. (I was starving but the dining room had closed for the night.) Those wonderful people gave up a couple of hours one evening and blessed me beyond words.
Gleanings are usually simple, love-filled offerings from one heart to another. It doesn’t have to be grand. It usually happens on the spur of the moment. The only requirement is to pay attention and offer your love and support. All will be blessed.