Look, Gather, Glean!
Women's Leader Devotional
Posted May 23, 2016
Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was... Ruth 1:7
I have this little motto that has been printed on a graphic on the front page of my website for years that says, "look, gather, glean!" I actually just moved it up onto my banner instead of the page itself. That saying has been on the website in some form or other for almost fifteen years.
As I began looking back over the old versions of the website pages preparing for my 15th Website Anniversary, I kept running into that saying. Most of the time in the past it was just, "gather and glean". I believe I added the "look" in there about five years or so ago.
I found I had it on graphics. I found it in text at the bottom of my front page. I found it in places where I had outside links, and I even found it in text on the sidebars of the website in past years.
The reason I began stressing that "gather and glean" so much is because I starting receiving an abundance of emails where ladies were apologizing to me that they couldn't use certain ideas from a theme or devotional and they felt like they were changing my program or my devotionals in some way.
They would tell me how bad they felt about changing something or using it in a different way and I would explain that the ideas on the website weren't designed to be used in their entirety by everyone. You just pick and choose what works for you.
The ideas on the website are just there to get you moving toward a little creativity; hence, Creative Ladies Ministry.
Concerning my devotionals, I don't mind if people change them up to use them for their ladies groups. My only request has only ever been that you please don't reprint my material online or in publications.
All this being said, this is how the "look, gather, and glean" came about. One of my favorite quotes on friendship is that old Arabian Proverb that says the following.
"A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one's heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away."
That is how I've always looked at the website. You women's leaders, pastor's wives, and wonderful Christian women are all my friends. I have a bond in Christ with all of you sweet and lovely leaders that come by the website for ideas for your ministries. I count you all as my friends.
I'm sharing my heart, along with all the crazy ideas that come along with it. Please keep what's worth keeping and blow the rest away!
I put all the ideas I do here to help you get out of your rut in women's ministry. I think that is all that it takes sometimes—just a new idea or a new direction or way of thinking about something.
Ruth and Naomi
I just recently read through the book of Ruth again. Something that popped out to me was that it says, talking about Naomi, Ruth's mother-in-law in Ruth 1:7
Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was...
I know how this story ends. I've read through it dozens of times. I know Ruth is rewarded in the end, but it struck me profoundly when reading through it this time that Ruth, as well as Naomi had to "get out of the place where she was".
In order for these women to move forward in their lives, they had to leave things behind. They had to take some action to see what was up ahead.
We have to do that where working with women in our churches is concerned sometimes too. We have to get out of our ruts. We have to get out of the place where we are at.
Sometimes for us when working with women's ministry, it just requires looking at something from a different view. Sometimes we need to come at things from a different angle.
I hope the things I've been sharing on the website these past 15 years have allowed you to do that. I hope I've encouraged you to move out of the places where you are at in women's ministry.
Sometimes you just need to get out of the place that you are in. It may be a literal place. It may be a place in your life physically. It may be that you need to get out of a stagnated place spiritually.
It might be that you need to change things up in the way you minister in order to see growth and lives changed.
I've moved several times with my family location-wise and it was so hard. I think about Ruth and what a scary place she was at in Ruth chapter 1. When Ruth decides to go with Naomi to Judah, she no longer had her husband to rely on. She was heading to new territory. She was going into a whole new way of life. She took the challenge though.
Look what she tells Naomi in verses 16, 17.
And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
Ruth went with Naomi and stepped out into what God had waiting for her. I hope that we all can do that. I hope we can move in the direction God is leading and find what God has waiting for us.
One thing I notice in this passage is that Ruth wasn't wishy washy about what she was going to do. She was determined to go along with Naomi.
When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her. Ruth 1:18
Ruth was steadfast in her decision. I hope I can be like that—determined and steadfast in what I do for Christ. You never know what is waiting around the bend.
As we read on through the book of Ruth we see how God blessed her as she gathered and gleaned. She couldn't get to that place of blessing until she got out of that "place where she was" though.
It all goes back to that decision that Ruth made that day to be a companion for her mother-in-law on a journey where she didn't know what waited for her at the end.
Getting Out of That Place
I encourage you as leaders to get "out of the place where you are" in women's ministry. As I said earlier, it may not be a physical move that you need, but you may need to get out of a rut or get out of a slump spiritually where you are as a leader. Your women's group may need to get out of a lull in their spiritual growth.
Where are you at? What kind of place can you say you are at in your relationship with the Lord? What kind of place are your ladies in regarding their faith?
Has the women's ministry you serve in found itself in the land of doldrums and lethargy? Do you see involvement? Are you seeing growth and change in the women you lead? Are you at a point and a place that you need to get out of?
In order to get out of those barren places I think we have to learn to look, gather, and glean where life is concerned. We have to really draw close to the Lord and have wisdom in what choices and paths we take in life.
It is important when it comes to leading women as well. We have to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and to the Lord's direction in the decisions and approaches we take.
We have to look, gather, and glean to sort through all the stuff out there to find what fits for our ministry. We have to weigh decisions prayerfully. We have to be spiritually discerning when it comes to selecting material and obtaining advice for our ministries. We have to find wisdom in God's Word.
The Blessing of Serving
God can bless in so many ways when it comes to women's ministry. Women can be encouraged. Their lives can be changed. Souls can be saved. We can see women grow in their faith and in their relationships with the Lord. Much can be accomplished when we are serving Christ.
Are there things in your life or in ministry that you need to change? Are there decisions that you need to make in order to move forward? Are there things you just need to settle with the Lord?
Don't linger in a place that's not good for you. I encourage you that whatever you need to do or wherever you need to be, just get moving!
So, what kind of place are you in?
Copyright ©2016 Julia Bettencourt
Scripture References are from the King James Version.
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