May 25, 2024

The Edge of the Field

Leviticus 23:22

“Do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you.”

—  Leviticus 23:22

The small prairie city where I live is home to a large population of Canada geese. There are two reasons for this. Our power plant is located along the river, and the warm water that flows from the plant means there is open water all year long. In addition, there is a large food supply in the grain fields surrounding the city. Every day thousands of geese fly from the open waters and glean food from the fields before returning to the city at nightfall.

The habits of these birds remind me in some ways of God’s instructions to the people of Israel. They were to harvest their fields in such a way that there was plenty left for the poor and the foreigner. Similarly, the people were to leave their fields fallow every seventh year, and their vineyards and olive groves as well, leaving the produce for people who struggled to make ends meet (Exodus 23:10-11).

Though farming practices and urbanization today have made those old gleaning practices impossible in many areas, God’s call to care for poor and needy people still stands. And many charitable organizations have found ways to help others who cannot provide for themselves. As followers of Jesus, what can we do to help needy people in the places where we live?

Lord, give us insight to follow your call to show love and mercy to our neighbors—both nearby and far away. Help us to find truly helpful ways to be a blessing to people in need. Amen.

About the author — George Koopmans

George Koopmans has served as an ecumenical chaplain at Medicine Hat College in Medicine Hat, Alberta, since November 2021. Prior to entering into chaplaincy, George served as a pastor to two congregations—one in Minnesota (Luverne), and the other in Medicine Hat. George and his wife, Emily, have four adult daughters and three grandchildren. Hiking, biking, and birdwatching are his favorite hobbies.

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