A Need for Margin

H – Highlight

Leviticus 23:22 – “And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor 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.”

E – Explain

In Leviticus 23, we see God give instructions for the Sabbath and for the 3 major feasts of Israel. As God gives the direction for the feast of first fruits, also called Pentecost because it was held 50 days after Passover, he reminds the people of their requirement not to fully harvest their fields. The people were to leave the corners of the fields unharvested for the good of the poor. Note that they were not merely to give the poor a handout but were to make it possible for the poor to work to get food. At the same time, the owners were not to try to squeeze every last bit of profit out of their property. They were to leave a margin to be able to care for the needy.

A —Apply

First, I apply this by recognizing that God’s system for living is the best. That makes sense. God is wiser than man. His plan to govern a nation would be the best.

Second, I see that God reminds us that those with work ought not spend to the last penny. Instead, we are to leave margin for giving and caring for others. This would be true for those who should be sure they are able to give to the church.

I also think the idea of not harvesting the whole field would bring me a principle of scheduling too. I should not fill my time to a point that I cannot take a phone call or meet a need.

Finally, I see that it is good for the poor to work for their food instead of just receiving it. It is a trap to have a person handed food without labor. Of course, there are those incapable of work, and we want to care for them. But there are also those who could work, but who, in our system, understand that doing work would actually be less productive and provide less for their families.

R – Respond

Lord, I first thank you for showing us how things should be. I know that your system is better than any other. I pray that you will help me to live with enough margin in my life that I can care for others around me. I pray that I will not spend time or money until I have nothing left.