Updated: Oct 21, 2021
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Pictures of God's Kindness
by Karen Burkhart
Savvy students of the Bible know to always be on the lookout for the grand story of God in the reading of the Bible's many little stories. Scholars call this grand, overarching story, the metanarrative. The metanarrative of the Bible is the story of the redemption of mankind by Jesus Christ. It is, perhaps, no more beautifully showcased than in the book of Ruth. I encourage you to read through all four chapters of this layered love story in one sitting to see the clearest display of the redemptive theme.
As you read, you may notice that God is not mentioned often, though it'll be hard to miss His incredible “behind-the-scenes” involvement in the story of Ruth. And though you'll find no mention of the coming Messiah, you will uncover an irresistible picture of Him in the person of Boaz, making him a “type” of Christ. A type is something or someone from the Old Testament that foreshadows something or someone in the New Testament. I love the wisdom of God to weave such foretastes of Jesus into the Word of God--and into the very lives of those who came before Him.
Knowing that Boaz is a type of Christ, it’s good to ask, “What does the person of Boaz teach me about what Christ is like?” Of course, we have to be careful to avoid making one-to-one comparisons because Boaz IS NOT Christ. From today’s passage, I think it’s safe to say that Boaz typifies Christ in three ways: 1) He notices the marginalized 2) He shows relentless kindness to the living and the dead and 3) He redeems people. Certainly, the book of Ruth is not the only place in the Bible we uncover these traits of Christ, which lends confidence to my assertions. Also bearing witness, though far less reliable than Scripture, is my own personal experience walking with Christ. Just this week, in fact, I experienced this Christ who notices the marginalized and never stops showing kindness to the living and the dead.
While in Canada helping my dad get settled into his new apartment, I noticed his walls were looking a little sterile and needed some art. Adding warmth and interest to my dad's surroundings is more important than ever now that my mom is gone. Because my dad lives in a small rural community with few stores, I decided to see what Facebook Marketplace had to offer. I set the market radius to about an hour’s drive from my dad’s apartment hoping it would turn up a few suitable pieces. And it did! My dad dismissed one for not being his style and we learned another had already been sold, leaving us with just two options that were ideal in color and size. I texted both sellers individually and told them I was interested but would need to figure out how to pick up the art since they were both about an hour from us. On a whim, before hitting send, I also let the sellers know where we were located. The thought had crossed my mind, “you never know—they might happen to have a reason to travel our way.”
Not long after, I got a response from one seller and she said, “My husband is going to be in your town tomorrow night, and he could drop it off for you!” Then, she added, “I just noticed you enquired about a second piece as well? Do you want both?” I was floored--I hadn’t even noticed it was the same seller for both and couldn’t believe that we would be getting home-delivery! The next night, right on time, a nice young man came to my dad’s door with the artwork in hand. I immediately hung the pieces and stood back and marveled--they fit perfectly and the colors coordinated with everything else in the room, as if it had been designed around them.
Finally, I marveled at my God who notices the empty wall spaces of an eighty-five-year-old widower living on his own for the first time in his life. And He didn’t just notice him, He also showed great kindness by arranging for personal delivery in a timely fashion so I could hang them before I left town. You know who else God showed kindness to? My mom. God answered her prayers for my dad to be cared for after her passing. You see, not even death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39)
Spend some time today considering the times God has noticed you and shown kindness to you and thank Him for them. Ask God to show you someone who may be feeling unnoticed and prayerfully consider how you might reflect Jesus to them through a simple act of kindness.