West Franklin Family,

As you are aware, this month we are walking through the biblical book of Ruth. Tomorrow, my Bible will be open to chapter 2. Cannot. Wait.

I love walking through a Bible book, especially a narrative. But as always the case, so much gets left unaddressed. I mean, I only have a half an hour (give or take a few minutes). Whether I mention this in tomorrow’s sermon remains to be seen. But I want to highlight it here nevertheless.

Boaz.

Oh my. What a man – What a man – What a man. What a mighty-mighty good man (thank you Salt-N-Pepa). May God raise up thousands of men like Boaz!!!!

Time of the Judges. Everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes. Men were taking advantage of women. Men were sexually abusing women. No one feared God. No one cared about anyone but themselves. People were used and abused.

Boaz.

His employees knew he loved them and knew he loved God.

He could have just tolerated Ruth, but overwhelmed her with kindness, generosity, grace, and abundance.

He could have done what was expected and sent Ruth – a foreign woman – away. But he made sure she was protected and provided for.

He didn’t pursue Ruth for her looks, but for her godly character.

In short, in a time when everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes, Boaz lived his life and operated his business with kindness, generosity, and over-flowing grace. Boaz loved God, lived under God’s reign, and overflowed with “god-ness” toward everyone around him. Boaz didn’t see people as a means to his powerful end. He saw people as, well, people. Human beings made in the image of God, designed to be loved by God and treated with grace-filled kindness. People were not cogs in Boaz’s wheel to get him further down the road. People were seen and valued and treated as human beings.

Boaz. May God raise up more Boaz’s!

West Franklin, can we agree to see people for who they are? Men. Women. Boys. Girls. Made in God’s image. Human BEINGS, not human doings. God’s people don’t see other people as a resource to be used, but as fascinating treasures to be esteemed.

This week, I learned of yet another church person who seriously hurt a fellow church person. (No, it wasn’t West Franklin.) The pain could have been avoided. The injury could have been defused. The shrapnel from the bomb could have easily been avoided or, at the very least, drastically reduced. But it wasn’t. Pain. Ache. Hurt. Frustration. Speculation. All because the hurt individual was treated as a means to an end. The person was treated as a non-feeling robot, not an emotion-filled worshiper of God. This supposed leader in the church didn’t look the person in the eyes, but over their shoulder, past them, toward another who could make their machine shinier.

West Franklin, you know as well as I do that this sort of thing happens all the time . . . even (especially?) in the church. Can we be different? Can we refuse to act like everyone else? In a time when everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes, can we treat others the way the Father is treating us? If you say you will pray for someone, pray for them. If you say you will call someone, call them. If you have hard news, don’t send an email. Dial their number or meet them for coffee. Consider their feelings. Consider the consequences of your decisions. Listen to them. Look them in the eye. Value them as a human. Respect them as a fellow image bearer. This doesn’t mean everyone will like you or everyone will always get along with you. It isn’t about that. It’s about seeing and engaging others with kindness, grace, goodness, and dignity.

Boaz. Oh God, may we be a church filled with Boaz’s!!

Because We’re His,

Pastor Matt