Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 4 PART 2 – Kindness (1 John 3:18)
LESSON: KINDNESS is love in action.
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
– 1 John 3:18
Bible Lesson: Kindness in the Book of Ruth
Chapter 1: The Kindness of Ruth and Naomi
Naomi is the wife of Elimelech and they had two sons, Mahlon and Kilion. Because of a famine in Bethlehem, they moved to a land called Moab and there, her sons got married to Ruth and Orpah. After a few years, Elimelech died, and so did the two sons. And so there were three widows left in the family.
Widows are considered one of the poorest people during that time, because it was usually the men who worked to provide for the family. Ruth and Orpah were still young, so instead of them staying together, Naomi told her daughters-in law to go back to their families and hopefully get married again.
“Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me,” Naomi said. (Ruth 1:8) So Ruth and Naomi went back together to Bethlehem.
Chapter 2: The Kindness of Boaz
Naomi had a relative from Elimelech’s side of the family named Boaz. Boaz was a very rich man who owned a large field. The people of their time had a tradition that after the workers have harvested the grain, poor people such as widows were allowed to take whatever was left. Ruth became one of those who waited for that chance, and Boaz noticed her and found out who she was.
Boaz heard of Ruth’s kindness towards Naomi and how she stayed with her widowed mother-in-law to take care of her, so he showed kindness to her too. Boaz gave orders to his workers to leave extra grain for her to gather and even shared food with her. So when she went back home to Naomi, she had good news to tell her about the kindness she received from Boaz. Naomi replied, “May the Lord bless him! He has not stopped showing kindness to the living and the dead!” (Ruth 2:20)
The kindness that Ruth showed Naomi was a fruit of her genuine love for her. She was given a chance to go back to her family and take care of herself, but instead, she chose to take care of the old widow whom she has grown to love as the mother of the man she married.
This kindness wasn’t something that bragged about or did so that other people would praise her. Ruth was simply acting out what was already in her heart. And people noticed – that is why when Boaz asked around about her, people already had good things to say about her.
Naomi showed kindness to Ruth by letting her go, but Ruth showed kindness to Naomi by staying. This led to Boaz showing kindness to Ruth and also Naomi, and a happy ending of them getting married and becoming a family. They experienced hardships and sadness in their lives, but their choosing to be kind bore good fruit in their lives. Matthew Chapter 1 talks about the family tree of Jesus. And in that family tree, in verse 5, are the names of both Boaz and Ruth. They are listed in the family tree of the Savior of the world!
Lord, help us to show kindness to each other whatever our situation may be. Help us to do this that we may be a channel of Your great love to others. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.