The story of Ruth and Naomi, part 4
by Charmian Roberts
Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools
To consider the importance of helping each other.
Preparation and materials
You will need some ‘helper’s tokens’. These could be small pieces of paper or card that have smiley faces or the words ‘thank you’ or ‘good helper’ on them.
Optional: you may wish to prearrange for three children to read out the words shown in bold in the ‘Assembly’, Step 4.
As you enter the room, ‘accidentally’ drop the pile of ‘helper’s tokens’ on the floor in clear view of the children. As you begin to pick them up, say clearly, ‘Oh no, this is going to take me ages. I’m not going to be able to do my assembly if I’ve got to pick all these up on my own.’ Hopefully, at this point, some children will offer to help! Accept help from some of them, pointing out how helpful and thoughtful they are being!
Ask all of the children the following questions, pausing after each question to allow them time to think.
- Are you good at helping?
- Who have you helped today?
- Who has helped you today?
Hand out ‘helper’s tokens’ to anyone who has helped someone today. You may wish to let the children take some home to give to people who have helped them outside school.
Remind the children that helping is really important. It enables people to carry out tasks that they might otherwise be unable to do and it also makes both the person helping and the person being helped feel happy. Explain that in today’s story, we will hear about several people who helped others.
If you are using this assembly as part of a series and wish to do so, recap parts 1-3 of the ‘Ruth and Naomi’ story. (See the ‘Life has ups and downs’, ‘What makes a good friend?’ and ‘Taking care of the poor’ assemblies.) Remind the children that Ruth has promised to look after her mother-in-law, Naomi, and that she has gone out into the fields to collect barley so that they both have food to eat. Remind the children that a special law allowed the poor people to collect leftover barley from the fields.
You may wish to explain that three children are going to speak the words of Boaz, Ruth and a harvester, but this is optional.
Ask the children to raise their hand during the story if they think someone in the story deserves a ‘helper’s token’.
Ruth and Naomi (continued)
After Ruth had worked in the fields all day, she was able to make Naomi a delicious meal. It was hard work collecting the few stalks of barley that had not been picked by the harvesters while the hot sun beat down on her back. When the owner of the field arrived to see how the harvest was going, he noticed how hard Ruth was working. The man’s name was Boaz and he wondered who the new young woman collecting barley in his field was and where she had come from.
Boaz asked one of his harvesters, ‘Who is that young woman who is gleaning in my field?’
The harvester replied, ‘She is Ruth, the Moabite woman, who came back from Moab with her mother-in-law, Naomi. She’s been working hard all day, and is still gathering the leftover barley.’
Now Ruth didn’t know this, but Boaz was actually a relative of Naomi, and he was also a man who loved God and followed his laws. Boaz called Ruth over to him and said, ‘Please don’t go and glean in any other field, you are welcome here. Stay with the women who work for me, and whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from my water jars.’
Ruth was amazed at his kindness, and asked him, ‘Why have you taken notice of me, a foreigner, and shown me such kindness?’
Boaz replied, ‘Because I’ve heard all about how you have been such a helper to your mother-in-law, Naomi, and how you’ve come all the way from Moab to Israel to be with her. God will protect and help you because of all that you have done!’
Boaz wanted to make sure that Ruth had plenty of barley to take home with her to Naomi, so he told his harvesters to pull out extra stalks of barley and drop them on the ground for her to pick up.
When Ruth got home that evening, she showed Naomi all the grain she had managed to collect and told her about Boaz, who had shown her such kindness.
Naomi was amazed and said, ‘How incredible that out of all the fields in Bethlehem, you chose to work in the field of my relative, Boaz, and how kind he has been to us!’
That night, Ruth and Naomi had plenty to eat because they baked bread from all the grain that Ruth had collected.
Ask the children to identify the helpers in the story. Boaz helped Ruth and Ruth helped Naomi. However, there is another helper in the story, and that is God! God helped Ruth to find Boaz’s field; he is helping a special plan unfold in Ruth’s life.
Time for reflection
Is there someone who might need your help today? Maybe God will use your hands, your words or your kindness to help that person.
Perhaps there is something that you need help with today. Maybe like Ruth, you could ask God to help you today.
Explain that, as you say the prayer, you are going to pause for a moment in two places to give the children the opportunity to think about others and to add their own needs.
Please help us to always look out for people who need our help.
We think now of anyone who may need our help today.
Lord, some of us here need your help today.
In our hearts, we bring to you anything that is bothering us and the things with which we need help.
Thank you that you hear our prayers.