One at a Time
Let me learn from Ruth, the gleaner. As she went out to gather the ears of corn, so must I set out for the fields of prayer, meditation, the ordinances, and hearing the Word to gather spiritual food. The gleaner gathers her portion ear by ear; her gains are little by little: So I must be content to search for single truths, if they come just one at a time. Every ear helps to make a bundle, and every gospel lesson assists in making us wise for salvation.
The gleaner keeps her eyes open: If she stumbled dreamlike among the stubble, she would have no load to carry home rejoicingly at evening. I must be careful in religious exercises in case they become unprofitable to me; I fear I have lost quite a bit already. I need to estimate my opportunities properly and glean with greater diligence.
The gleaner stoops for all she finds, and I must do the same. Proud minds criticize and object, but humble minds glean and receive benefit. A lowly heart is the key to profitably hearing the Gospel. The soul-saving Word is not received except with meekness. A stiff back makes for a bad gleaner. Pride is a vile robber and must not be tolerated for a moment.
What the gleaner gathers, she keeps: If she dropped one ear to find another, the result of her day's work would be but meager; she is as careful to retain as to obtain, and so at last she makes great gains. How often do I forget all that I hear; the second truth pushes the first out of my head, and so my reading and hearing end in much ado about nothing! Do I understand the importance of storing up the truth?
Hunger helps to make the gleaner wise; if she has no corn in her hand, there will be no bread on her table; she works under a sense of necessity, and consequently she moves swiftly and her grasp is firm. My need is even greater, Lord; help me to feel it, that it may urge me onward to glean in fields that yield to diligence a plenteous reward.
verse 1 Jeremiah 29
verse 2 Mark 15
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.