Thought for Thursday

And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. Leviticus 19:9

Our text brings before our minds the story of Ruth, and the law that allowed a diligent young woman like her to gather enough grain to survive in hard times. If Ruth and Naomi had gone to a different country, rather than to Israel, they would have starved. It was not the practice of the godless nations to make provision for the poor. Ruth was able to take advantage of the gleaners’ law to provide for herself and her mother-in-law. This must have seemed to Ruth to be a wonderful provision, and she gladly took advantage of it. We don’t practice this today, but the principle behind the law of the gleaner does apply to us as Christians.

The gleaners’ law says we are not to be so stingy and hoarding that we allow others around us to suffer. The hallmark of a Christian should be a care and concern for those around us. For sure, our primary concern should be the welfare of their souls. But if we really care, we will really be willing to help in practical and material ways as well. How can we expect people to accept the Gospel that we offer if we withhold from them the bread that they need? Generosity to those in need never hurts us, and is a good testimony to our Lord.

But the law of the gleaner reminds us that in spiritual things, we are not to isolate things to ourselves. That is why a brother rises to his feet on Lord’s Day morning, to open the Word of God and share some of the good things he has gathered from the Lord. That is why those who take part audibly in worship bring forth from their hearts those things concerning our Lord that have been harvested through the week. That is why the Bible readings are interesting, and the thoughts and studies of each brother are shared and discussed. That is why the younger Christians seek out the older saints for advice and guidance and encouragement from the storehouse of experience. That is why each member of an Assembly’s fellowship bear before the Throne of Grace daily the burdens and cares of all the others in the fellowship. That is why we conduct Gospel meetings weekly, and have special Gospel series, so that lost souls can hear the only message that offers hope for eternity. There are so many ways in which we all make available from ourselves so that others can be blessed.

Just as Israel was the only land where strangers and the poor could benefit from the law of the gleaner, so only among Christians can the poor world find those who will truly care for their souls. After all, we have benefited so much ourselves from the generosity of the Lord’s people that we should be ashamed not to be generous ourselves. – Jim MacIntosh

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