A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND: Assessing Future Husbands with Six Diagnostic Questions
A few years ago I sat with my two daughters-in-law, and we were talking about the tragedy that so many great young women make very poor choices in husbands. Both Cheryl and April have daughters on the cusp of young womanhood, so the topic interested them.
As we talked, I thought of a sermon series I had done years ago on the Book of Ruth. Ruth is at one level a romance which ends with the heroine making a wonderful choice of a great and godly man.
At the end of the teaching series I developed some diagnostic questions for anyone looking for a good man. There are lots of other diagnostic questions that could be included, I’m sure, but these come out of the text of the little book of Ruth.
It would help to read the book of Ruth for review. You’ll agree, I think, that Ruth the Moabitess was wise to marry Boaz. If you have a daughter or granddaughter who wants to get married, these questions might help. Or if you are a young woman who is thinking of marriage one day, consider these. And if you are a young man, maybe the story of Boaz might help you become the man someone like Ruth would want to marry.
You might call these The Boaz Questions, and I have six of them. I'll share three this time, and three in my next post.
1. What is his reputation in the community? The first mention of Boaz in the Book of Ruth is a statement of his character: Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. (2:1).
“A worthy man” literally means, “a mighty man.” It implies strength, power, ability, wealth, even military strength. Boaz is a man of substance, and he is respected. These days the world seems to be filled with young men who aren't sure they are men and don't know what a woman is. Boaz is certainly not a “macho man”, but he is a man’s man with a reputation as such.
2. How does he treat other people? Boaz shows himself to be kind, generous, and protective. We see him greeting his employees in the field where they are reaping: And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!” And they answered, “The Lord bless you.” (2:4) He gives his work crew a blessing, and they respond in kind. Later you see him eating with these guys.
And then of course his kindness to Ruth and to Naomi is on record. He goes out of his way to speak words of comfort, to help them above and beyond Ruth’s wages, and to protect the well-being and reputation of Ruth.
Most people try to be pleasant with the folks they work for, report to, or the ones they’re trying to get something from. But here’s a man who takes the time to be kind and generous to folks who are powerless and cannot pay him back.
3. What is his moral code? A well-known definition of integrity is “doing the right thing when no one is watching.” We see this in Boaz. On the threshing floor, in chapter 3, he is a man with all the power, and Ruth has none. Even though he could have taken advantage of a compromising situation, he was a model of godliness.
None of us is perfect, but when you’re looking for a husband or a boss or a mentor or an employee or a friend, it helps to know the kind of person they are. Do they act differently in private than in public? Boaz was a man of integrity.