April 12, 2021
We have already observed that Boaz was a “man of standing.” His character shaped his leadership actions in the way he treated others well and in the way he treated the weak. His generous giving also reflected his character. Twice in the story Boaz gave generously to Ruth.
14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.” When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. (Ruth 2:14, NIV).
15 He also said, “Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and placed the bundle on her. Then he went back to town. (Ruth 3:15).
Boaz shared his meal with Ruth in the field and later gave her a generous gift of grain, as much as she could possibly carry! And Ruth was not the only person who benefited from his heart of generosity. There were others also who enjoyed the meal with Boaz and other women who were working in the field. Boaz was able to give generously because his heart was focused on serving. His generosity is an example to all serving leaders.
Serving leaders give generously as they focus on others instead of themselves.
As Boaz sat down to his meal, he could have simply thanked God that he had food. But he looked around and saw that Ruth had nothing to eat. So, he shared generously with her, giving his best, not the leftovers. His focus was not on his own needs but on the needs of others. Many leaders focus on themselves as they lead. They think about their own goals, their own agenda and see others as a means to help them accomplish their ends. But serving leaders look at their role as an opportunity to serve those they lead. They focus on others before themselves. Their focus is outward not inward.
Serving leaders give generously as they focus on giving instead of getting.
Boaz owned the field and rightly expected a harvest. But his focus was on giving instead of getting. He saw the grain as something that would not only meet his needs but allow him to give to others like Ruth. He likely knew that givers also receive in return, but his motive was simply to give out of a generous heart. Many leaders are in roles of leadership for what they can get out of it. This may be financial rewards, prestige, a sense of control or a love of power. But serving leaders lead to give. They don’t measure success by what they get but rather by what they can give. Their focus is giving not getting.
Serving leaders give generously as they focus on abundance instead of scarcity.
Boaz did not look at his harvest and think that giving would bring loss to him. He did not think that sharing his lunch would make him go hungry. He had a mindset of abundance. He recognized that there is enough for all and that sharing brings blessing instead of scarcity. Little did he know at this point that he would gain a wife and a place in Israel’s history from his generosity. But Boaz had already learned that leaders who give also gain. Many leaders find it difficult to give because they see resources as scarce. They think that if they give, they won’t have enough for themselves. These leaders only give if they feel that they have more than enough. Leaders with this mentality seldom get enough to give! But serving leaders see a world of abundance. They find blessing in giving and experience the joy of receiving as well. Their giving inspires others to give, and the world begins to flourish in beautiful ways. Their focus is on abundance, not scarcity.
For further reflection and discussion:
- Skim the four chapters of Ruth looking for other indications of how Boaz gave generously. What do you observe? In what way can you learn from his example?
- Am I in leadership because of what I want to get or because of what I want to give? In what way have my actions in the past week reflected this condition of my heart?
- When I measure success is it based on what I get from my leadership or on what I am able to give? What is a practical way I can use my role to give more generously? What things other than physical resources can I give?
- Is my focus primarily on abundance or scarcity? How does this impact my generosity? What can I do to increase my focus on abundance?
- What do I have to give? (Think of something tangible that you can give to someone. This may be an item you own, a gift of time, a financial contribution to someone in need, etc. Find something that you can do to give. Then reflect on what it does to your heart.)
Until next time, yours on the journey,
In the next issue, we’ll examine how Boaz served by keeping his word.