When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest . . . You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19: 9-10
This was one of the ways the Hebrew people expressed charity for the less fortunate. As people moved into towns, they continued to give to the less fortunate, reserving a part of their daily baking, or an egg from the flock, or a cup of milk. Eventually, in some Jewish rural communities it almost became an honor to be the town’s beggar because that person ensured everyone was giving as they were commanded. Remember the beggar in Fiddler on the Roof?
But today, in our urban lifestyles few of us have fields. We may have a small garden in the backyard, but in many communities there are strict sanitation laws that almost squelch any donation of fresh produce by individuals. So how can we ensure we are giving charitably as the Lord commands? How do we not reap to the edge?
I think for me, it means tithing not only my income, but my time and efforts. It means not spinning my wheels and being too busy at, well, being busy to not do what God is wanting me to do. It is setting aside time to visit that person from church in the hospital, or volunteering to deliver meals, or sorting used clothes at a thrift shop, or writing a note to someone telling them I am thinking about them and praying for them.
What if every day, we could strive to set aside time to do something for someone else whom we never expect will return the favor? It might be a little gesture of kindness, paying it forward if you will. A smile, a little note, a hug, a helping hand. If we all did that, and not reaped all of our strength, time and income to the edge, I think the effect would be miraculous on our neighborhoods, churches, communities and nation. What a testimony that would be to the love of our Savior and all He has done for us!