I tread lightly with this post. Not because it is untrue – because it is definitely truth. But, I have been accused of not always encouraging single men in my life, and I want this post to be encouraging to them. So, I write this post with two-fold purpose:
1. To encourage my brothers in Christ. Women have the Proverbs 31 woman (with Ruth as a foundation and model for her), men have Boaz. Just like us females will never live out the P31 perfectly, we still strive. That is what I want to encourage you guys with, whom I love in Christ, to press on toward the characteristics that we see in Boaz in the story of Ruth, and ultimately to be like Christ.
2. Women. First single: don’t settle. I’ve had a couple of guys tell me recently that I have every right to be picky. Look for these characteristics of Boaz that we see in Scripture. I don’t know any man, married or single, that embodies these perfectly – none of us are perfect – but look for one, and want to be pursued by one, who is striving towards these. Married: encourage your husbands in these. Don’t nag, encourage. When you see actions that model these, encourage him in that.
So, with my objectives (hopefully) clearly stated, I proceed. I am thankful for two men in speaking this truth into my life recently: Brian Frost, my friend and pastor at Providence, and David Platt, pastor at Brookhills in Birmingham.
1. A Servant. I think this was the first time I had seen this in the story of Ruth. When they were at the table in chapter 2, Boaz passes Ruth the bread. He wasn’t sitting there waiting for Ruth to serve him. He took the initiative and served Ruth.
2. A Generous Giver/Provider. Boaz didn’t just command the men to leave Ruth with a days reaping, Ruth left there with 30-50 lbs of harvest grains. He didn’t just provide for her needs, he graciously gave her far above what she needed. Col 3.20 and Rom 8.32 come to mind.
3. A God Lover. The first thing we hear Boaz say is “The Lord be with you.” This initial greeting would have declared his allegiance. Love Jesus men. Women, follow men who love Jesus. This is crucial. Not just men who are Christians – but are actively loving their Jesus, their Savior, pressing deeper into the gospel.
4. A Protector. In chapter 2, Boaz commands his men to allow Ruth to glean and not to reproach her.
5. A Kind Man. Kindness to Ruth, a stranger, a Moabite woman, and to his “employees”.
6. A Helper of the Needy. Boaz looked out for those less fortunate than he was. He had compassion on them.
7. Respected. This is crucial (especially for the women). Boaz was respected in the gates (we see this in chapter 2 and 4 of Ruth). Women, if a man is pursuing you or you think you might like a guy, get some counsel from the godly men in your life – do they respect this guy? If people tell you some things that you may not have seen in your brief encounters with him, please take them to heart. I have not always done that, and wish I had. Wisdom, ladies, comes sometimes away from attraction.
8. Integrity. Boaz, as we see in chapter 3, was a man of integrity. He didn’t take advantage of the situation that presented itself to him. And he also dealt honestly with Mr So-and-so in chapter 4 who was the next Kinsman Redeemer in line for Ruth.
Sometimes women ask me what they should look for in a husband, I want to now tell them to go read the book of Ruth. This list of characteristics isn’t exhaustive, but its a good start. Others that I would want to include are: cute, adventurous, humble, meek…you know, important ones! (haha) I love it. If I could pick out 4 books in the Bible, the OT and the NT and I could only have 4: they would be Ruth, Psalms, Romans, and Colossians. Love them.
Ruth gives me such a vibrant picture of the gospel – what Jesus has done for me. Took me, a foreigner, and died for me, graciously showered me with kindness and hope and good news – far above anything I deserved or could ever imagine. Jesus is so gracious. Press in to the gospel. Be encouraged!