Tidings for Tuesday

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

One day, when we were children, I came across one of my younger sisters. She had just received a big cookie and was sitting in one of the corners of the room to enjoy her treat. Seeing me approach, she gave me a big smile, broke off a generous portion of her cookie, and passed it to me. As we shared the cookie, I remember wondering if I would have done the same. For many of us, sharing does not come automatically, whether children or adults, and our built-in selfishness deprives us of much of the joy of sharing. Perhaps that is why God provided laws for His earthly people that included mandatory generosity. We in the day of grace should be no less generous.

The law that provided for the gleaner apparently worked fairly well in Israel, as we can see from the book of Ruth. Naomi sent Ruth out to glean in full expectation that she would find the corner portions and the ‘handfuls on purpose’. And Ruth encountered not merely provision but outright kindness in the fields of Boaz. How Ruth’s heart must have stirred at the difference between the God of Israel and the selfish demanding gods of Moab! And how people’s hearts today should be stirred at the difference between the generosity of God’s people and the grasping miserly attitudes of the world around us. Perhaps you read of the baseball player, one of the most highly paid athletes in the world, who set up a charity to supposedly help the underprivileged. It turns out his charity gave only one percent of the funds it raised to actually help people; no idea where the rest of it went. When confronted with this sham, instead of being ashamed, A-Rod just shrugged. There is a great deal of generosity out there, and we appreciate it, but the natural tendency of the human heart is to grasp, not give. That should not be our attitude.

Are Christians really more generous than the unsaved folks around us? In reality, it should be impossible to find out. The Word of God directs us to give in secret, and most Christians do. There are some of us who don’t give much. But behind the scenes, God’s people are generous. Letters that contain fellowship flow silently though the post offices. Meals, money, and clothing are distributed to the needy’s back doors. And so on. Do we give enough? Probably not. Most of us could do better. But generosity ought to mark us, and God grant that it does.

The God Who loves a cheerful giver appreciates our leaving the corners of our fields for the stranger and the poor. What can we give today? – Jim MacIntosh

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