Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. Leviticus 19:10
General Charles Gordon (1833–1885) served Queen Victoria in China and elsewhere, but when living in England he’d give away 90 percent of his income. When he heard about a famine in Lancashire, he scratched off the inscription from a pure gold medal he’d received from a world leader and sent it up north, saying they should melt it down and use the money to buy bread for the poor. That day he wrote in his diary: “The last earthly thing I had in this world that I valued I have given to the Lord Jesus.”
General Gordon’s level of generosity might seem above and beyond what we’re able to extend, but God has always called His people to look out for those in need. In some of the laws He delivered through Moses, God instructed the people not to reap to the edges of their field nor gather the entire crop. Instead, when harvesting a vineyard, He said to leave the grapes that had fallen “for the poor and the foreigner” (Leviticus 19:10). God wanted His people to be aware of and provide for the vulnerable in their midst.
However generous we may feel, we can ask God to increase our desire to give to others and to seek His wisdom for creative ways to do so. He loves to help us show His love to others.
How might you extend generosity today, whether through practical help, a listening ear, or some other way? When have you been on the receiving end of someone’s generosity? How did that feel?
Giving Father, thank You for sending Jesus to live as one of us and to die for us. Fill my heart with love and thanks for this amazing gift.
Leviticus 19 instructs landowners in Israel to allow the poor and foreigners to harvest the edges of their fields and vineyards. It might seem like a strange law, but the book of Ruth shows how important it was in Israel. Ruth was the Moabite wife of a deceased Israelite husband, left only with her Israelite mother-in-law, Naomi. Their lands were under the ancient equivalent of foreclosure, so they had to glean in the corners of someone else’s field. That someone was Boaz. He demonstrated his love for God by not only following the law and allowing Ruth to gather in his fields, but also by redeeming her and her family’s land. One strange law opened the door for Ruth and Naomi to survive and for Boaz to show faithfulness. In the end, they joined in the family tree of Jesus Himself, whose obedience would one day redeem the world.