“Why have I found such favor in your eyes” (Ruth 2:10 NIV)?
Have you ever been someone’s favorite? Favorite son, employee, player, student… have you ever been the “apple” of someone’s eye?
I recently read about an experiment with underperforming elementary age students that they divided into two groups. They took the first group of underperformers and changed their files to show that they had extremely high IQs but were not living up to their potential. The second group was designated the control group and they left their records unchanged. They assigned both groups to new teachers and classes.
What happened? The first group’s performance improved significantly, but the second group’s performance was relatively unchanged. It seemed that the teacher’s expectations of the students greatly affected their work. The favor they showed the students that they expected to do well, ended up doing much better than before.
Apparently, it pays to be teacher’s pet.
In the book of Ruth, a foreign widow woman from the land of Moab moves to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law. She is a nobody– no husband, no children, no property, and no hope. Yet, she goes out to work in a local man’s field to pick up the leftovers that his servants have left behind hoping that God will show her favor.
God does. He leads her to the field of a man who shows her favor in spite of her situation. She had nothing, but he was the most wealthy, eligible bachelor in Bethlehem. God caused Boaz to show Ruth favor.
What is favor? It is the gift of grace. It is what God offers to us through the Bethlemite who loved us while we were still “underperformers,” sinners alienated from God (Romans 5:8). We had nothing, but through His death, burial and resurrection He offers us everything. He offers us unmerited favor.
Why would He show us such favor?
Love. We who believe are the “apple” of Christ’s eye.