I recently was reading through the story of Ruth and stumbled upon the verse Ruth 2:17 (ESV) that says, “So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley.” God guided me to some marvelous truths on gleaning. In verse 17 it states that Ruth “beat out what she had gleaned”. This meant that they would “beat” out the grain they had gathered. During the process, the edible parts of the grain would be loosened leaving the non-edible parts behind. Using a flail or stick, they would continue to beat the grain. It was considered a laborious endeavor taking up to 1 hour per bushel but it would be all worth it in the end. A lightened, load easily carried back to their households. Ruth beat out the grain, bundled the edible parts of the grain, placed over her head and carried back to her residence.

After reading through this verse several times, I heard God ask me “Do you try to carry the burden and the blessing?”

Let me explain. God gave Ruth favor and blessing by allowing her to glean in a field “among the sheaves” (v15). This area was known for the greatest number of waifs – the greatest blessing. Those who were not career gleaners would specifically go to this area to collect the most grain. In verse 16, we read that, Boaz, the owner of the field, told his men to let the grain from the bundles fall. This was to make it easier for Ruth to glean in his fields. God multiplied Ruth’s efforts and continued to give her favor. Despite all the favor and blessings, there was still a heavy load to carry. We know that she had already worked a long day as it reads in verse 17 that “she gleaned in the field until evening” but despite being tired she put forth extra effort. She stayed even longer to wrestle with the grain and beat it to obtain a lightened load. Ruth knew the value in a blessing over the burden. You see her husband had passed and she was left with the decision to move back home to be with her people or to stay with her Mother in law, Naomi, and travel to a new land and be considered a stranger among the people. She took upon herself to care for Naomi and stay by her side. Many would look at this situation and consider it a burden but Ruth wrestled with it and saw it as a blessing.

At the end of a long day of gleaning, Ruth could have picked up the entire load and carried it home but instead, she only took with her the blessing. She left behind the burden of a heavier load on the threshing floor. Are we carrying the burden with the blessing? I encourage you today to leave the burden and pick up the blessing. Stop trying to pick up what you already put down at the cross. Leave it at the cross. Leave the chains and bondage that continue to try and hold you hostage and pick up your freedom. Leave the thoughts of worthlessness and carry your value and God’s identity for your life. Leave the sickness and heartache behind and take up your healing and wholeness. Leave fear and anxiety and take a hold of peace! Pick up your blessing and leave the burden

I could have continued to carry the burden with the blessing but there came a time where I had to beat out the past and wrestle with it to lighten my load. God had healed me of a past of abuse, divorce and lack of self-worth. Although God delivered me from a horrid abusive relationship, I could have chosen to continue to carry that with me – it would have been a heavier a load. A heavier load that would have continued to make me tired because I was never meant to continue to carry it. I had to make the decision to leave the burden on the threshing floor. I had to put forth the effort and let God show me the blessing. It was there on the threshing floor – side by side – the burden and the blessing. But till I asked God to show me the blessing, I continued to pick both up. Once God opened my eyes, I saw that the blessing was that my life was spared from the hands of an abusive ex-husband. The blessing was that God would be able to use my testimony to help other women find wholeness after abuse. The blessing was that God would provide an amazing godly man who would extend love, grace, and patience towards me.

You will come to the end of many long days – long seasons – long trials – when you get to that place take the extra time to beat out the grain before moving on. Leave the burden and carry only the blessing. Take the time to learn from the experience, glean what God has been able to teach you and carry with you only the blessing.