Imagine a woman placing a classified ad that reads, “Wanted: A Generous, Servant-hearted Man.” Would you have the qualifications to respond? The Bible’s Ruth contains a love story with a self-effacing guy named Boaz who would meet the requirements of such an advertisement. Let’s dip our thoughts into the middle of the emerging romance between Ruth and Boaz,
When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all that she wanted and had some left over (Ruth 2:14b).
Boaz honors Ruth by seating her with the harvesters at a noontime meal. Call it their first date. Like a real man, Boaz takes the initiative to invite her to lunch.
Then Boaz, the boss, does something not often seen in the Ancient Near East. He serves her a bowl of Jewish Grape Nuts or “roasted grain.” Think about it. He’s a man; she’s a woman. He’s an Israelite; she’s a Moabite. He’s in charge of the harvest operation; she’s not even close to being in charge. He’s the landowner and the employer; she an entry-level gleaner in the fields. But Boaz does something remarkable. He chooses to serve rather than be served. Does any of this sound familiar? Does it remind you of Jesus, our glorious Boaz, as Spurgeon used to call him?
Fast forward a few thousand years. The mother of Zebedee’s sons, James and John, came to see Jesus. She asked the Savior to give her two sons a favored position in the kingdom. Can you imagine a mother meddling in her boy’s business that way? With the two mama’s boys standing next to their mother, Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking!” and “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
The boys answered yes too quickly. The rest of the disciples became indignant with their aggressive grab for power. Jesus smelled a skunk.
Jesus took the opportunity to warn the disciples about practicing the kind of leadership found among the Gentiles where those in authority “lord it over” their subordinates. He made it clear this was not the way things work in the kingdom of God. Jesus wasn’t suggesting that leadership and lines of authority in an organization are wrong. Rather, he was elevating servant leadership as the ethic we must embrace if we want to rise higher in the kingdom. He then went on to say these memorable words,
“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:20-28).
A leader is not a real leader until he learns to serve. The same is true of a man. A man is not a real man until he learns to serve the woman of his desire. Said another way, a self-centered slob who always puts himself first will never capture a woman’s heart completely. Never!
Boaz understood this instinctively. He was kind, tender and generous, a real servant-hearted man, the kind of man most women are looking for. He was not stingy with his food portions, even sending Ruth home with a doggy bag.
Wanted: A Generous, Servant-hearted Man. Do you qualify?