Many of you will return to school in the next week or two. Some of you have already started. One of the scariest moments of the new school year is when you enter the cafeteria and wonder where you are going to sit. This is the great dividing of the population, isn’t it? The cool people sit at that table. The brains sit at that table. The band jocks, Choir geeks, stoners, etc. The in groups and the out groups are formed and the boundaries go up.
The worst thing you could do is to either (a) invite yourself to sit at a table that is “above you,” or (b) invite someone that is “below you” to sit at your table. If you do the first thing then people will think you are full of yourself and they will quickly shut you down. If you do the second thing then the other people at your table will get really uncomfortable and might kick you out of their group.
In Ruth 2:14 and through the rest of the chapter, we see Boaz breaking all those rules. He was the rich and powerful person in this scene and he had the right to sit at the main table and hoard all the good food. Notice what he does. He welcomes Ruth, the young, foreign widow to sit at the table and dip her bread with him. In that culture, that was a very generous act that demonstrated welcome and equality.
As you approach the coming school year, spend some time examining how you see other people? Do you look through the lens of in groups and out groups and seek to make your way up the lunch table ladder? Or, do you seek out the Ruths in your school and try to find ways and places where everyone can feel welcomed at the lunch table?