There is a very popular (read Best-Seller List) book by Dale Carnegie called How To Win Friends And Influence People. The author is famous for training people to be leaders, and this book put him on the map in that department. It offers up suggestions on how to improve your interpersonal skills and become leaders both in business and in life. Dale Carnegie died in 1955, and his book is still used by companies all over the world to develop leaders who can run their business well. Having never read this book, I cannot attest to its lessons and teaching style. I can, however, point to a biblical example of the type of leader every man should strive to be in Boaz. Boaz often gets overlooked because of Ruth (thanks, women). People tend to focus on the two of them as a whole rather than each individual person. When they do focus on an individual, Ruth gets all the attention. I mean, she’s that all-too-familiar soul who was getting over the death of her husband and, you know, really putting herself out there and just trying to catch the perfect guy’s attention and you know she was so brave for getting back out there after her husband died and I just think she’s great and you go girl! I’ll let the women focus on that story (I’m not much for love stories). Well, now Boaz, buddy, it’s your time to shine. Let’s take a look at some of the qualities that Boaz lends us to become good leaders.
I think to define the qualities of a good leader, we should first define our idea of a good leader. A good leader, in my opinion, is someone who is respected by both his superiors and his inferiors. If he garners the respect of those two groups, he’s doing everything right. So, how did Boaz manage to garner the respect of both God and a widow?
1. He was defined by his work ethic, not his bottom line.
Boaz was every woman’s dream. By that I mean he was rich. The guy had money. It’s not explicitly stated, but we can safely assume that he was a wealthy guy, as he had several servants and workers. So what? Every rich guy had fields full of workers and houses full of servant girls. Why is Boaz so special? Boaz treated his workers well during a time when that wasn’t the popular thing to do. Many people weren’t directly involved in the day-to-day operations of their land during this time period. In Ruth 2:4, we can see that he treated them well. Further in to chapter 2, he gives orders to his men and they do as told in order to accommodate Ruth. Boaz didn’t let his status affect the type of person he was.
2. He was a Gentleman
If cars existed then, Boaz would’ve opened Ruth’s. If it was winter, he would’ve lent her his jacket. If they went out to eat, he would’ve paid for dinner. Boaz was interested in keeping Ruth around (because she had a sweet amount of land that he wanted to buy up, and she came with it. Sorry to burst that bubble for you, ladies) and he made several accommodations to make her stay a pleasant one. In reality, he was impressed by how good of a woman she was. Girl had it goin’ on. He was a gentleman because he wanted to be. He treated her well because he wanted her to stick around.
3. He Gained Respect Through Integrity
One of the most admirable of Boaz’s traits was his integrity. Here, Boaz really shows the type of man he is. Boaz has everything. He’s wealthy, from a good family, and he’s about to have this godly woman. The only thing that stands between him and her is a kinsman. This kinsman was the next in line to purchase the land left behind by Naomi’s husband and sons. Now, being the wealthy, powerful man he was, he could very well have just bought the land (and, thus Ruth) from under the kinsman. He knew this was wrong. He knew that to honestly get Ruth for himself, he was going to have to go about it a different way. This quickly became less about land and more about Ruth. As soon as the kinsman came into the city, Boaz approached him in front of witnesses to claim the land that was rightfully his. Boaz called the man to claim the land, and only after the man agreed did he raise the issue that Ruth and the land were a package deal. The kinsman couldn’t jeopardize his own estate to take on Ruth, so he gave the rights over to Boaz. By honest means, Boaz had gotten Ruth for himself.
We can see now that Boaz was an untold story. He was a man who knew what he had and knew from whom it was given. He used his work ethic, respect, and integrity to set himself apart from the other men of his time. Boaz was rewarded very well for this. He got the land, his spot in the genealogy of David, and the Christ-like woman of his dreams. He could’ve had any worldy possessions that he wanted. He stayed true to what God had called him to be, and was rewarded well. We can learn a lesson about leadership from Boaz. He was a good leader, ultimately, because he upheld what God had requested of him. To be an honest, hardworking man. I’m sure Dale Carnegie knows a lot about leadership, but I’ll take an example from my creator over that of his creation.