“As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her.” Ruth 2:15
The first four words of this verse struck me as I read this all too familiar story. Ruth had been sitting down to eat with the harvesters and Boaz at mealtime, but she eventually had to “get up”. I imagine the harvesters were tired and hungry, but knowing the kindness of Boaz this was probably a time of refreshing both physically and socially. There is a time to enjoy one another’s company, especially with those within the church, but then the duties and responsibilities call us to “get up” and return to work.
Ruth knew what her job was, to gather enough barley for herself and her mother-in-law Naomi. Is there a job that God wants you to do and now is the time to get back to work? Has the Spirit been prompting you to “get up” and go to work in some capacity? We can’t always just be enjoying God’s blessings. We must listen for his direction and obey.
Bam! This is where I always seem to hit a brick wall!
What exactly does God want me to do? Yes, I can “get up,” but there are two more words that glare at me.
Maybe if I understood the meaning of the word “glean” a little better, I could possibly discern what God wants for me to do. After all, I rarely call up my friends and say “What are you gleaning today? No, not cleaning, gleaning!
According to Dictionary.com the word “glean” means (1) to gather slowly and laboriously, bit by bit, (2) to gather (grain or the like) after the reapers or regular gatherers, (3) to learn, discover or find out, little by little or slowly.
That first definition conjures up visions of Cinderella on her hands and knees “laboriously” picking up dust bunnies off the kitchen floor while her wicked step sisters smirk at her. The second definition relates to agriculture and “farm girl” I am not! I prefer the third definition.
I love researching and discovering new things about God and my relationship to him through his word. But this was not always my passion. For the first thirty-five years of my life, I did things my way and it’s a miracle I’m still here. The turning point was when I became a stay at home mom and joined a women’s Bible study. For the next twenty years I studied God’s word little by little and even slowly at times. I have participated in great studies with other women (harvesters) and studied and written on my own.
Several years into this new stay at home season of life, I heard God clearly tell me to write. I got excited as I walked the beach at Cape San Blas, Florida every day for a week “writing” in my head. Soon the words started flowing as poems that were usually inspired by bible studies (sometimes while using electrical appliances like vacuum cleaners and hair dryers)! I even heard the Lord tell me to write a study on Psalm 107 while out walking the dog. I put a few thoughts on paper then put it aside. But God was not done with me in that assignment. Years later, He spoke again so I picked it back up and completed it. I am so grateful that God didn’t give up on me. Every time I sit down to write I am drawing near to Him and I can feel his presence.
I am relating all this to let you know that I am a slow learner when it comes to gleaning with God and that’s ok. Now I am an empty nester with a job that I enjoy and is supposed to be part time, but it seems there just aren’t enough hours in the day to study and write. Lately, I’ve been listening to online writing lessons through Compel Training which is a part of Proverbs 31 Ministries. If I ever thought I was a decent writer, listening to other writers and editors have squelched all those thoughts. I have been more discouraged in the process of writing than ever before, thinking “Why do I think I am a writer?” and “What do I have to say that others want to read?” But the one thing that I heard from a life coach in the Compel Training is that if God called me to write, then he qualified me to write.
My husband immediately said, “write a book so I can retire.” I’m not anywhere near that task. I have an audience of one right now and that is the Lord. This blog is just the next step in obeying him. When he instructs me to invite followers I will do so, not because I want people to read my words, but because He has given me words to encourage and inspire someone else. When he decides to bless me with more, he will instruct and my prayer is that I will get up and glean.
So wherever God leads you, Get up and Glean!