Newly-ordained minister Michael Golden brought a challenge to the 11 o’clock service of the First United Methodist Church of Crystal Lake.
It came at the end of his insightful sermon on the Book of Ruth.
Golden, who preached for the first time fifteen years ago and started an ecumenical teen Christian group at South High School, has graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary and is now teaching at the private high school of Chase Oaks Church in north Dallas.
He is an accomplished public speaker, displaying those talents last Sunday.
In the Book of Ruth, Naomi gets married to a a man from Moab and moves there. Tragedy strikes as both her husband and two sons die.
Naomi urges her two Moabite daughters-in-law to leave her and continue their lives.
One agrees; Ruth says she will stick with her mother-in-law and return to homeland.
Naomi urges Ruth to glean from Boaz’ field of barley. Knowing of Naomi, Boaz tells his field hands to make sure enough grain is left to feed two.
Golden told of the cultural practice of polygamy.
There were two classes of marriage, plus concubinage.
Naomi suggested her daughter-in-law become Boaz’ concubine.
Under such an arrangement, Ruth would be taken care of by Boaz, but would be treated pretty much like a slave. Naomi would be left on her own.
Ruth was hoping to become a second class wife. That would require Boaz to take care of both Ruth and Naomi.
Boaz, however, decided to make Ruth a first class wife. That would mean he would have to take care of both Ruth and Naomi.
Because Ruth had been previously married, however, any children would be considered her deceased husband’s and would inherit Boaz’ worldly possessions.
In short, Boaz sacrificed all he had to benefit Ruth and Naomi.
This brings us to the “Boaz Challenge.”
Golden pointed out that each of the three in this story acted with no consideration to their own self-interest.
The challenge was for each parishioner to do something for a family member that was unexpected and provided no personal benefit.
Recently ordained as a minister, Golden then asked that we reflect on the fact that Ruth’s line of descendents went to David and Jesus.
And what an example to both was the behavior of Naomi, Ruth and Boaz.