And she said, “These six ephahs of barley he gave me; for he said to me, ‘Do not go empty-handed to your mother-in-law.'”
Recently the Barna Research Group announced its findings that the number of evangelicals in the United States is only about 6 percent (decreasing from 12 per cent in 1992). An earlier study indicated that as many as 40 percent of Americans have no religious affiliation and another 31 percent are Christians in name only.
That means that at least 71 percent of the U.S. population are living in spiritual poverty. It’s obvious we have a vast mission field right in our own backyard. As we send and support missionaries overseas, are we overlooking those in spiritual need nearby?
Many people in Israel lived in physical poverty, and Boaz was known for his generosity. But in his concern for those else -where, he didn’t overlook those in need in his own backyard.
One of those was his own kinswoman, Naomi. As Ruth prepared to go home from her labors in the field, he gave her six ephahs (approximately five bushels) of barley to take home to her mother-in-law. Out of the compassion of his heart, he was burdened that the young Moabitess who gleaned in his fields not go home empty-handed.
Spiritually needy people are every where. The majority of Christians, however, are neither able nor called to leave their occupations and homes to serve on foreign mission fields. But that doesn’t mean that our neighbors must go home empty-handed.
All around us are people living well below the “spiritual poverty line…” Next door, around the corner or in the apartment across the hall are men, women and children who need to know about the Savior. The fields are there, and they’re ready for harvest.
Make sure your friends and neighbors don’t go home empty-handed. Be alert to opportunities to pass on the Bread of Life. Prayerfully ask God to lead you to someone with whom you can share your spiritual bounty. And then be like Boaz: give away what your friends need most.
IF YOU’RE CONTENT TO GO TO HEAVEN ALONE, YOU MAY NOT BE GOING AT ALL.