Evening, August 2, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“So she gleaned in the field until evening.” — Ruth 2:17
Let me learn from Ruth, the gleaner. Just as she went out to gather the ears of corn, so I go forth into the fields of prayer, meditation, the scriptures, and hearing the word to gather spiritual food. The gleaner gathers her portion ear by ear; her gains are little by little, so must I be content to search for single truths, if there is no greater quantity of them. Every ear helps to make a bundle, and every Biblical lesson assists in giving us wisdom that leads to salvation.
The gleaner keeps her eyes open. If she tripped over the stubble while daydreaming, she would have no food to carry home joyfully in the evening. I must be watchful in religious exercises so they don’t become unprofitable to me; I fear I have lost much already—Oh, that I may correctly evaluate my opportunities, and glean with greater diligence. The gleaner stoops for all she finds, and so must I. Haughty spirits criticize and object, but meek minds glean and receive benefit. A humble heart is a great help towards successfully hearing the gospel. The soul-saving word we need grafted in is not received except with meekness. A stiff neck makes a bad gleaner; bow down, my controlling pride, you’re a foul robber, not to be endured for a moment. What the gleaner gathers she holds; if she dropped one ear to find another, the result of her day’s work would be sparse; she is as careful to retain as to obtain, and so at last her gains are great. 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 feel accordingly the importance of storing up the truth? A hungry belly makes the gleaner wise; if there’s no corn in her hand, there will be no bread on her table; she labors under the sense of necessity, and as a result her footstep is nimble and her grasp is firm. I have even a greater necessity, Lord; help me to feel it, that it may urge me onward to glean in fields which yield so overflowing a reward to diligence.
My notes: Most contemporary translates use “barley” or “grain,” but I’ve chosen to retain corn, since it is something still picked and gleaned if you live in an area where it is raised. The term “stiff-necked” has replaced “stiff back,” and I substituted there. Another challenge is rendering the archaic punctuation with current styles; Spurgeon will have three or four sentences joined by semi-colons (which is acceptable, though not preferable) and some thoughts separated by a colon, where in current usage we would use a semi-colon.