Ruth the Moabitess asked Naomi, “Will you let me go into the fields and gather fallen grain behind someone who allows me to?”
Naomi answered her, “Go ahead, my daughter.”
…So Ruth gathered grain in the field until evening. She beat out what she had gathered, and it was about 26 quarts of barley.
(Ruth 2:2, 17)
Sometimes all we can do is follow and pick up someone’s leftovers. We don’t have the provision, energy, or knowledge to do otherwise. Sometimes we’re so exhausted, physically or emotionally, we need to follow someone else and trust him or her. Perhaps they don’t even know we’re behind them. Or maybe we’re the ones walking ahead, and we have abundance. We might not identify the abundance as such. We’re simply going along, accessing what we can. We gather what God provides. It might be material provision, but it is often a talent, joy, experience, or understanding God has given us. He guides us, including where to go and what to gather. At the same time, He is guiding others to follow.
We should never be so selfish as to gather everything for ourselves, even if we’re trying to gather out of need. When the Israelites gathered more manna than they could use simply because they wanted the security of providing for themselves, the extra was wasted. It molded and was unusable. God determines what and how much we need. He provides, but He also instructs us to take only what we need (as He determines, not as we assess). We are to leave some behind.
Others need it. They need us. We need each other.
Whether you are leading or following right now, know that God provides. Follow Him well. Trust Him well. Gather well, even when it is tiresome and humbling.