April 28, 2021
As a “man of standing” Boaz served others in several ways that we have already seen. He treated others well, he treated the weak with respect, and he gave generously. He also served others by keeping his word. Several times in the story of Ruth, Boaz did what he said he would do and serves as an example to serving leaders in this area of integrity.
8 So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. 9 Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. …. 15 As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her. 16 Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her” (Ruth 2:8, 15-16 NIV).
11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. 12 Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. 13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it (Ruth 3:11-13).
What can we learn from Boaz about how to serve by keeping our word?
Serving leaders remember their words.
Boaz promised Ruth that his men would not abuse her. These were not idle words which he had not every intention of fulfilling. He remembered what he promised her and took action on it quickly. Many leaders talk a lot and make promises hoping to please those they lead. But they have no intention of acting on their promises and quickly forget what they said. Their followers soon learn not to pay attention to their empty words. But serving leaders think before they speak because they want to remember what they have promised. They take quick action as Boaz did, or they make a note to themselves to follow up later. Serving leaders make a conscious effort to remember every word they promise.
Serving leaders honor their words.
Boaz remembered his words and followed up with action. He went to his workers and repeated his instructions to them to fulfil the promise he made to Ruth. When he later promised her that he would act on her request for marriage he said, “as surely as the Lord lives I will do it.” Boaz made this strong statement because he was a leader that honored his commitment. Many leaders talk more than they act. But serving leaders don’t say “I will do it” lightly. They honor their words with appropriate action.
Serving leaders build a reputation with their words.
Boaz lived his life by honoring his words and his consistency built a reputation that every leader should desire. After Ruth reported to Naomi what Boaz said, Naomi responded, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today” (Ruth 3:18). The reputation of Boaz was not built in a day, it was the result of him consistently honoring his word. Many leaders honor their words one day but not the next. But serving leaders work hard day after day to follow through on their commitments. They apologize when they fail and keep striving to be a person of their word. And with time, they build a reputation that all their followers can trust.
For further reflection and discussion:
- Skim the four chapters of Ruth looking for other indications of how Boaz kept his word. What do you observe? In what way can you learn from his example?
- Do I ever forget what I promised to do? What can I do to minimize this omission?
- Have I recently promised more than I fulfilled? What is the result for my leadership? How can I improve in honoring my words?
- Am I known as a person who keeps my word? If not, why not and what needs to change? If so, how can I use the trust others have in me to better serve them?
Until next time, yours on the journey,
In the next issue, we’ll look at how Boaz served by making things happen.