I want to share with you a powerful, moving story from the Book of Ruth. It’s a story about a beautiful biblical commandment, Leket, that changed the lives of two women, Ruth and Naomi, and whose legacy continues to impact lives through the work of Leket Israel today.
Imagine for a moment, you’re walking through a sun-drenched field, the golden stalks of barley swaying gently in the breeze. There’s a woman in the distance, her back bent as she diligently gathers the fallen grain. This isn’t just any woman – this is Ruth, the Moabite, and she’s busy with a task known as Leket.
‘Leket’ (לֶ֫קֶט) is a beautiful Hebrew term that speaks volumes about God’s heart for His people. It refers to the commandment to leave the fallen grain in the fields for the poor and strangers to collect, a divine mandate given by God to His chosen people, Israel,
“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings (leket) of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:9-10, NKJV
Despite her trials and tribulations she found nourishment and hope in the act of Leket. Her story, woven with threads of faith, resilience, and divine providence, offers us timeless wisdom. Especially when we face challenging seasons in our own lives.
You might be asking, “What does an ancient agricultural practice have to do with me?” The beauty of God’s Word is its enduring relevance, its power to speak into our lives, even thousands of years after it was written. Leket, at its core, is a message of God’s provision, His care for the weak, and His call for us to participate in His work.
We may not be gathering grain in the fields, but we’ve all had our ‘Ruth moments’, haven’t we? Times when we felt like strangers in a foreign land, times when we had to rely on the kindness and generosity of others, times when we felt overwhelmed by loss or change.
Maybe you’ve recently lost a loved one, like Naomi, and you’re navigating the harsh terrain of grief. Perhaps you’ve moved to a new city or started a new job, and you feel like Ruth, a stranger trying to find your footing. Or maybe, you’re like Boaz, blessed with abundance and looking for ways to share God’s love with those around you.
The story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz teaches us that God can use anyone and anything – even an obscure agricultural Law – to fulfill His divine purposes. Ruth’s humble act of gleaning didn’t just provide for her physical needs; it placed her in the field of Boaz, her kinsman redeemer, leading to a divine union that would secure her future and place her in the lineage of Jesus Christ.
Isn’t that just like our God? Turning the ordinary into the extraordinary, making a way where there seems to be no way, and providing for us in the most unexpected ways?
But Leket isn’t just about receiving. It’s about giving. It’s a call to action for us as Christians as well. To leave some ‘grain’ behind for others. And no, this doesn’t necessarily mean leaving literal grain in a field. It’s about creating opportunities for others to experience God’s love and provision through our actions.
Just as Ruth was blessed through Leket, we have the opportunity to be a blessing to others. And here’s the beautiful part – when we give, we receive. Not always in the way we might expect, but God has a way of pouring back into our lives when we choose to pour out into the lives of others. As Luke assures us,
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38 NKJV
It could be through volunteering at a local shelter, providing meals for a family going through a hard time, or supporting charities like Leket Israel.
Leket Israel is the largest food bank in Israel, operating with the same principles of gleaning that God commanded thousands of years ago. We collect excess food from farms, hotels, military bases, and caterers, and distribute it to those in need. Each week we feed over 234,000 Israelis who struggle with hunger.
Just as Ruth gleaned in the fields of Boaz, today, volunteers for Leket Israel glean in fields across the country. They gather the crops that would otherwise be left to rot and distribute them to hundreds of nonprofit organizations that feed the hungry.
Isn’t it amazing to see God’s principles at work in our world today?
Leket is more than an ancient agricultural practice; it is a divine principle that still rings true today. It is a call to generosity, a reminder of God’s provision, and a testament to the power of faith and resilience.
In our modern-day ‘fields’, let’s remember Ruth. Let’s remember how her humble gleaning led her to a destiny greater than she could ever imagine. And let’s also remember Boaz, who, in his obedience to the commandment of Leket, became a vessel of God’s blessing.
Today, I encourage you to find your own way of ‘gleaning’. It could be carving out more time for prayer, seeking wisdom from Scripture, or nurturing a heart of gratitude. And let’s also find our way of ‘leaving grain’ – offering our resources, time, and love to bless those around us.
In this season of your life, you may feel more like Ruth, relying on the Leket left by others. Or, you might find yourself in the role of Boaz, able to leave a generous Leket for others. Either way, let’s remember that we serve a God who provides, a God who sees us, and a God who can take our ordinary and turn it into something extraordinary.
The story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz – a story shaped by the principle of Leket – tells us that no act of kindness, no step of faith, no moment of generosity is ever wasted in God’s economy.
So, whether you’re gleaning in the field or leaving grain for others, trust that God is at work. Trust that He will provide. Trust that your Leket – your acts of faith, your moments of generosity, your steps of obedience – are weaving together a story of divine provision and purpose in your life!