“And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of (wholly reap) pthe corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 23:22
I am thankful for the home in which God allowed me to be raised, and I would not trade it for anything in the world. I did not know the full struggles of my family because as I got older, my parents seemed to do better every year and God blessed them financially. I was unaware of the limited funds and not having enough money to buy items in the grocery store such as meat and soda. When things were tight, we seemed to eat a lot of beans and rice. It is amazing how many different meal combinations there can be with simple ingredients. We typically would go out to eat once a week on Sunday, and I always looked forward to this Sunday lunch. Our house was quite small with one bathroom, one sink and a small kitchen and living room. I really knew no different, but I look back now and wonder how there was not constant civil war in that small house.
My parents were quite hospitable and often invited people to stay with us. I remember having to share my twin bed with my high school cousin when I was a little kid. His three sisters, mom, and stepdad also lived with us at the same time. We had 10 people in our 900-square foot home, but it would be unheard of to tell my cousins and aunt to seek refuge elsewhere. They eventually moved out, but then my grandma moved in and stayed with us for several years. She slept in my room and I slept on the couch, but I did not think too much of this as it all seemed par for the course. She brought with her a black and white television that I loved to watch.
My parents have had many people stay with them over the years from cousins, aunts, grandmas, missionaries and pastors. I am not sure how they had such a big heart for others, but it was not lost on me the compassion and care they showed. My family and I even stayed in their home for some time while our house was being built. I know at times this was a big struggle for my parents as they were pushed way out of their comfort zone. I know money was tight as they sought to put food on the table for so many, and I know their patience was pushed thin as 10 people shared one sink and one toilet. I am sure the flesh kicked in at times, but my parents endured and were kind and helpful for those who were in need. I look back on this and realize the sacrifice they made for all involved.
In this verse we see how God made provision for the poor and the traveler. The poor is mentioned several times in the Bible and God put this in His Word intentionally. We are not to forget those who are less fortunate, and we are to give as we are led to give. I have heard it asked, “Would you rather be in a position to give $100, or would you rather be in a position to need $100?” We have blessed with so much, but we sometimes get greedy with what we have been given and want to keep everything for ourselves. We do not consider others as we should, and we are not hospitable as we should be. Even if we don’t have a lot, it does not take much to be thoughtful and considerate of another.
Has God laid someone on your heart that you need to help? Is there someone you need to have over for a meal? How about a new neighbor or a visitor to your church? We often look for ways to get a blessing but we don’t always look for ways to be a blessing which is the truest of all blessings. Our Savior did not come into this world in the greatest of places, and He left this world with nothing but a coat to His name. May we use what God has given us to help others, and may we look for ways to be a blessing to others.
Stay in the fight!