Words from the Heart for Sunday February 3rd, 2019
When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.
Leviticus 23:22 (NIV)
Gleaning is growing in popularity today across Canada. Many times, the food is given to those in need. During harvest season, hundreds of volunteers are heading to fertile backyards and farm fields to glean and rescue precious food crops. Gleaning as a practice dates back to biblical times, according to a study called Understanding Gleaning by Sandrine Badio. In her study, Badio describes the traditional meaning of gleaning as “the gathering of leftover crops after the harvest.”
Throughout the Bible we see God’s compassion for those who have the least. So it shouldn’t surprise us that within His law, God gives instructions about caring for the poor and displaced. Leviticus 23:22 says this: “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.” God wanted His people to mirror His compassion for those with the greatest need, so He instructs the people of Israel to leave enough crops in their fields that the poor and refugees could pick enough to eat. We see this lived out in the story of Ruth in the Hebrew Scriptures. The modern Israelis still practice this. In order for fruits and vegetables to be kosher, they must be grown in a field where 10% of the crops are left for gleaners. I’ve often wondered what a difference it would make if every gardener and farmer did the same thing in our prosperous country today. How can you share out of your abundance with someone today?
These have been words from the heart.