How Jesus serves us

nick-karvounis-72018
Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

The story of Ruth is one that really warms my heart because in a sense I see myself in her story. Every time I read her story, I’m enamored by how Jesus is always attracted to outsiders – the least, weak, women, poor, sick, imperfect, prisoner, widows, orphans, uneducated, oppressed, illegitimate, immigrants, etc. Her story offers us insights into how grace really works and who it works for.

At this point in Ruth’s life, she is a Moabitess and there was a law against her tribe and her people. This was the law – No Ammonite or Moabite or any of their descendants for ten generations may be admitted to the assembly of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 23:3) Ruth was a real outsider.

Boaz noticed this gentile woman and was enthralled by her. He then decided to redeem Naomi’s inheritance and Ruth was included within that inheritance. In redeeming Naomi, Ruth was also redeemed. (Ruth 4:1-13) Redeem is a bible word that means to buy back something. This is exactly what happened to us. Our heavenly Boaz came wooed, proposed and eventually married us by redeeming us by his own blood. In the case of Ruth, a sandal was exchanged between Boaz and the kinsman. In our case, Jesus redeemed us with his own life. He died for us. (1 Peter 1:19) We were then included in Him and we enjoy who He is and all that He has.

But I want to zero into some aspects of Ruth’s story that blessed me.

When Boaz came to know who Ruth was, he invited her to the table to eat. Ruth ate bread and vinegar. She also ate some roasted grain. She ate, and was satisfied, and still had leftovers.

Ruth 2:14 NKJV

Now Boaz said to her at mealtime, “Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed parched grain to her; and she ate and was satisfied, and kept some back.

As I was studying this passage it occurred to me that Boaz invited her to the table to eat.

In a previous post I have written that eating is a very Jesus thing. Jesus always invites us to eat first. Jesus always sets up the table for us. He wants us to eat of himself until we are satisfied. You will notice that Ruth ate bread and vinegar, which are types of the Holy Communion.

The meal

Firstly, Ruth’s initial encounter with Boaz included a meal. She ate. She did not bring the food. She did not prepare the food. All that was done on her behalf. She just accepted the invitation and ate.

Ruth ate and was satisfied. Ruth’s initial encounter with Boaz included a meal. She ate. She did not bring the food. She did not prepare the food. All that was done on her behalf. She just accepted the invitation and ate.

This is really what the gospel is all about. We have been invited to a table that Jesus set up himself. He is the meal, the chef and his angels are the servers.

Satisfied

Secondly, Ruth ate and was satisfied. Jesus is not squeamish about us going for seconds and even thirds. Jesus is not appalled when we eat till we drop. Not at all. He knows that there is much more than we can ever eat. All he wants for us is to eat till we are satisfied.

Jesus wants us to be satisfied.  Check out what David said in Psalm 63:5

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

Jesus is not satisfied until we are satisfied. His satisfaction is in seeing us satisfied.

Jesus is not satisfied until we are satisfied. His satisfaction is in seeing us satisfied.

Notice, Ruth had some leftovers. She took the leftovers to her mother in law – Naomi. She blessed Naomi out of her overflow.

Go serve – Go change the world

I want to pivot to this point – when Ruth went back to work again

Ruth 2:15 NKJV

When Ruth went back to work again, Boaz ordered his young men, “Let her gather grain right among the sheaves without stopping her.

Here’s the sequence – she ate, was satisfied, had leftovers then went back to work again

Within the charismatic movement, the opposite is true. We are told to go to work, serve, teach, evangelize, give, tithe, preach, love, confess, fast, pray and then we will eat, be satisfied and have leftovers. We must first do something before we are blessed. We must first serve before we are served. I am in pain when I see within the church people given huge tasks even before they have eaten of the gospel and are satisfied. Our emphasis for the last 20 odd years has been let’s go and change the world. Let’s go and fulfill our purpose and destiny. Let’s do something big for God.

Many of us go out to serve the world out of emptiness. Many of us have never experienced the true grace of God and then we are sent to the world to give what we don’t have. That’s why we quickly suffer burn out, are discouraged and give up.

I know of many people who have dropped out of church altogether not because they were bad people. It was because they felt used and misused by God through his representatives. At certain points in my life I thought I was going to give up and die because the demand was too much and the supply too little.

The church has become a recruiting agency for heaven instead of a 6 star hotel where Jesus is the meal, the chef and the angels wait on us. Jesus’ first pleasure is to see us eat and be satisfied. His first goal is to see us enjoy him – for ourselves.

The church has become a recruiting agency for heaven instead of a 6 star hotel where Jesus is the meal, the chef and the angels wait on us. Jesus’ first pleasure is to see us eat and be satisfied. His first goal is to see us enjoy him – for ourselves.

Freely as you have received

Matthew 10:8 NLT

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!

I was so familiar with this verse that a part of it had become white noise. This is the part – give as freely as you have received. Hidden in this verse is what Jesus does to us. Jesus freely gives to us. What’s our part? To receive.

Our giving to the world is a reflection of how much we have received freely from Jesus. We dare not go to the world having received nothing for free. If we haven’t received freely from Jesus, then we are going to make the world pay for our giving. We will exemplify a God that demands before He supplies. We will incarnate a God that is a master and we are His slaves. In a master’s house, the master and his family eat first and then the slaves and their families eat later.

No! Our God does not want us to represent Him like that. He wants the world to know how generous He is – How lavish he is – How he loves to see us eat of his bounty – How he loves to see us enjoy his goodness – How he sets the table for us and his angels wait on us to serve us – How he wants us to receive freely so that we can give freely.

So, before you go out to change the world, first allow your heavenly Boaz to serve you. Allow your heavenly Boaz to feed you. Allow your heavenly Boaz to wash your feet. Allow your heavenly Boaz to bless you. Allow your heavenly Boaz to fill you up. Your impact in the world will be much greater if you ate well, are satisfied and have left overs. We serve effectively when we are satisfied.

You go eat first. That’s what I have been doing for quite a while now. All I have been doing is eating and being satisfied with Jesus. He is the meal I have eaten for some time now. And boy ain’t I satisfied? Wow

Watch out world!

That’s what grace looks like

Schulter