Gleaning

by Cynthia Myers

“‘When you reap the harvest of your land, 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. I am the Lord your God.’” Leviticus 23:22 NIV

According to several news outlets, a man in Tennessee hoarded an estimated 17,000+ bottles of hand sanitizer in an effort to cash in on the rising panic caused by COVID-19. His plans were thwarted, and he was publicly shamed and banned for life by several online retailers. Anyone who has visited the grocery store hoping to buy cleaning products, toilet tissue and paper towels, even eggs have left the store frustrated. Retailers, fed up with hoarding and physical altercations, have resorted to setting strict limits on certain items consumers can purchase in a single visit.

On the surface, Leviticus has nothing to do with us in 2020. But a closer look reveals timeless truths. Leviticus 23 is devoted almost exclusively to God’s command that Israel initiate a series of prescribed festivals. Each festival recognized and celebrated God’s holiness and Israel’s reliance on Him. Yet, in verse 22, God commands Israel to make provision for the poor and foreigners. Why? The answer can be found in Matthew 22:37-39.

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

People are afraid – rightfully so. God’s command found in Leviticus 22 applies to us today. Hoarding is wrong. People are desperate for basic necessities. If we must buy extra items, do so and share with others who have little or none. Give generously and freely with no expectation of repayment.

Be light in a world of darkness and confusion. Be salt – seasoning the world with goodness and hope. And in doing so, you honor God and humanity.

Prayer: Lord, we call upon your holy name to bring us safely through this time of darkness and trial. Help us to remain faithful. Amen.

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