Reading: Leviticus 19: 9-18
Today’s passage falls under the heading, “Various Laws”, in my Bible. It is part of a longer list of “Do not…” laws that appear to jump from one subject to another, as the subtitle maybe suggests. Sprinkled throughout this chapter is the phrase, “I am the Lord”. It occurs five times in the ten verses we read today, 19 times in the chapter. In the repetition of this phrase we are reminded of who God is – the creator and giver of all things – and of our role within God’s kingdom. Our role should be one of gratitude for all that God has blessed us with. Out of this gratitude should flow a love for all of humanity.
This role is represented well in verse nine. God instructs, “Do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather gleanings from your field”. God repeats this same idea in the next line concerning the grape harvest. Yes, God wants to bless us with the bounty of a good harvest, but we are not to work and work and work for every last seed of grain or the very last grape. This simple idea has several applications. First, we are not to be greedy. We are to be satisfied with what God provides. Second, we are to share God’s blessings with those in need. Third, keep the proper perspective – God created for all of humanity, not just for us. In following these lessons, we maintain our connection to God and to one another. In these lessons, we remain in our proper role with respect to honoring God and loving our neighbor.
Verse nine applies to the harvest – it was very relevant in the agrarian society of early Israel. It translates well today as well. It applies to our time, our talents, our money, our love, our possessions – to all that God has blessed us with so richly. True, God calls us to work. But not to the edge, to the point where work is our sole focus and the consumer of all we are. Yes, God gives us each talents and gifts that bring blessings to our lives. But He gives these so that we can bless others as well. What gift of God do you guard to closely? How can you loosen your grip so others may share in the blessing?