//Illustrating How a Person Overcomes Life’s Trials to Live with Gratitude//

Gratitude goes further than thanks. It is a certain quality of thankfulness that moves into expressions of gratefulness, and the showing of appreciation. It does not require everything to be okay, but it is an attitude that would cause one to display warmth, friendliness, kindness, longsuffering, meekness… (see Galatians 5:22-23) regardless of the situation.

Observe a small portion of Ruth’s story. My commentaries below are in bold. Ruth 2:8-17 (AKJV): 8 Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens:

Boaz knew who Ruth was, but she did not yet know who he was. He showed her favour and kindness out of gratitude for what she did for Naomi her mother-in-law, to whom he was a near kinsman. Your reputation will preceed you. What will strangers come to know about you before you meet them?

9 let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.

Boaz was so kind, and respected Ruth’s commitment to her mother-in-law so much, that he cleared the way for her to have the best possible outcome in her gleaning.

10 Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?

The show of gratitude here indicates that such kindness was not commonly given to outsiders. But Boaz acknowledged the fact that Ruth, a Moabitess, had done a great thing in leaving her country to come to Bethlehem to take care of Naomi.

11 And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.

Boaz now reveals the reasons for his kindness. He makes known his gratitude for how Ruth left behind her people, her pagan country, and joined to her mother-in-law’s country, and to the God of Israel, just on what she had heard of Israel, and of the God of Israel.

12 The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

Boaz commends Ruth for choosing the God of Israel, and pronounces blessings upon her. It costs very little to speak blessings into the lives of others.

13 Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.

Even though great favor had already been shown, Ruth wisely acknowledged openly the fact that Boaz was being uncommonly kind to her, and requested that the kindness continue.  It is a great thing to receive the favor of others, but one should always show gratitude, never assuming the favor will automatically continue.

14 And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.

This was proof positive that the favor of God was being passed to Ruth.  Notice the diligence of Ruth here…She ate, and then went right back to work.

15 And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:

Boaz can teach us all a lesson on leadership, for he recognized the work ethic of Ruth and rewarded her accordingly.

16 and let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.

The grace extended to Ruth here likely gave her enough to last a week.

17 So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.

Ruth worked an entire day gleaning, then converted what she gleaned into a load easiest for her to carry through the process of winnowing (referencing “beat out that she had gleaned”, it is a process often reserved for a separate time, after a time of rest). The process of winnowing is a process of sifting out the bad parts so that what is retained are the good parts. Notice the diligence and industry of this woman.

My friend, today I want to encourage you to choose optimism. But I won’t stop there. While I agree with the fact that life’s circumstances go better when one exercises faith and optimism, I must also caution you to beware of the compulsive complainer. Had Ruth taken the path of pity, her outcome would most certainly have been different. But by choosing to take the path of persistence, working hard to make things better, she won the favor of all she encountered.

So what do WE do with gratitude?

  • Serve. Serving others with gratitude for the opportunity to lend a helping hand. Showing of kindness is a universally understood language, and even a simple smile goes a long way.
  • Follow. Following Christ, and following others as they follow Christ. The support you give to others in leadership will cause great blessings for you and others. And the favor will one day be returned.
  • Lead. Leading by example and showing others that a life of gratitude is the best way.
  • Pay the Price. Anything worth having is worth working hard for. Even when she experienced great loss, Ruth continued to pay the price of hard work, and God blessed her efforts.
  • Make Requests. A show of gratitude can soften the hearts of request grantors.
  • Everything. It can be a great blessing to point out to others why you are grateful to them. So today and every day, find persons, places, or things, to BE GRATEFUL about, and find ways to SHOW GRATITUDE, first to God, then to others.

The life lived in gratitude is a richer life than one lived in complaining. Even when life gives you lemons, thank God for the opportunity to have lemonade. And while you are enjoying your lemonade, make some for others so they can be refreshed also. WITH GRATITUDE!

Author, speaker, musician DEREK E. EURALES, Jr., loves to share his faith, motivation, and music. His book, Principles of Christian Living,  has become a “must read” for believers of all ages. To order your copy, click here.