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Friday, August 12, 2022
With generous rainfall the raised planter in front of our office door is thriving!
"Lessons From An Amish Farmer"
Message summary: Today’s Scriptural command concerning gleaning is found in the Law of Moses. It was intended so that the poor and stranger would have a means of support.
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“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 23:22).
Yesterday we shared a lesson gleaned*₁ from a drive through the country with our farmer friend Jesse making observations, the first being a lesson about a soybean field with corn shooting up right through the soybeans and the peril of weeds in our lives.
During our drive Wednesday morning we stopped by a farm stand to buy some tomatoes and a big pepper. As we left the stand we passed the field where the peppers were grown commercially and most are sold to the wholesale market, eventually landing in the produce section of the grocery store. But at the edge of the field we could see many peppers just thrown aside. Jesse explained they were peppers that had some type of blemish but were otherwise fine to eat. Apparently the blemished would lower their sale value. Buyers would see a blemished pepper and it could devalue the entire sale.
But seeing the many discarded peppers reminded me of a rather obscure Old Testament verse and wise concept rarely used today.
Gleaning is defined as "the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest."
The large majority of people are so far removed from our agricultural roots yet each of us daily depend on the labors of hard working farmers.
Food gets left in the field for all kinds of reasons. Two big reasons are that mechanical harvesting misses a lot — and sometimes the crops aren’t of high enough quality for supermarket shelves such as the peppers we saw.
We have been blessed several times when farmers invite us to glean such as going through the fields after a large commercial tomato harvest. The first year we moved here in 2001 Brooksyne accepted our farmer friend Galen's offer to glean leftover roma tomatoes in his field after the field workers walked through and picked tomatoes for market. She either froze or canned several quarts of tomatoes that year.
Linda Tozer of the Society of St. Andrew which advocates the ancient practice of gleaning states, “The statistics are that 96 billion pounds of food — this is pre-consumer food — goes to waste in this country,” (Note: I have no idea how they would get a precise statistic like that! Nevertheless I am sure a massive amount of food is wasted.)
Today’s Scriptural command concerning gleaning is found in the Law of Moses. It was intended so that the poor and stranger would have a means of support.
The practice of gleaning is found numerous times in the Old Testament, perhaps most famously in the book of Ruth. "And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, 'Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor'" (Ruth 2:2).
In an act of generosity and as an expression of his affection toward her, Boaz made extra effort to see that her gleanings would be abundant. “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her” (Ruth 2:15,16).
The farmer was to purposefully leave some of the harvest along the edges of the field as well as the gleanings, that is, the harvest missed the first time through. The field was then open to the poor and strangers so they could collect the remaining grain.
* The diligent farmer was recognized as entitled to the fruit of the harvest he had financed and labored hard to produce. A key Scriptural concept is "the laborer is worthy of his hire" (Luke 10:7).
* However through the gleanings the poor and the stranger had a means of support as well. but they still had to work in going through the field to collect these remnants from the harvest. Compare that with so much of our present day welfare system!!! Sadly so many have no clue as to the work that goes into producing the food we eat.
The New Testament application that applies this concept universally: “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
Today if you are "rich", which would be most of us*₂, are you following the Biblical counsel to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share from God’s abundant harvest in our lives with those in need?
If you are genuinely poor due to a situation out of your control, then God is inviting you to live a life of humility and gratitude as He provides for you through other sources.
If you are poor due to your own irresponsibility, laziness and lack of good stewardship then ask God to help you to be resourceful and ambitious. Observe the labor of others who apply God's principles and follow their example. Place your finances under His control becoming obedient according to the Scriptures. Perhaps you need a faithful accountability partner in which you can give a regular accounting of your finances. You may do well to seek counsel from a church elder or ministry such as Crown Financial. We’re blessed as we hear them on our local Christian radio station. They have a heart of compassion and a genuine desire to help others in the area of godly stewardship.
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we thank You for the way You bless Your people. You richly provide for our needs and supply us with hope that is not diminished by the circumstances of this world. We want to share from our spiritual and material abundance so that we lay up treasure for ourselves in the eternal life that is promised to all believers. Make us aware of opportunities to enrich others with the spiritual and material blessings we receive from You every day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
*₁ Gleaned also means to "extract (information) from various sources".
*₂ Rich in comparison to so many who are really poor, not in comparison to those who may have more than we do. Last week I shared this video about 200,000 people who live on shanties built over the water in Lagos, Nigeria. Hundreds of millions of people live like this around the world. This YouTuber has made many videos of this type such as "Inside Brazil's Biggest Slum". Watch these videos when you feel "poor" and pray for those who live with less.
"How to End World Hunger" Video Blessings of Hope This is a local ministry we support that is making a huge difference.
The Society of St. Andrew is a grassroots, faith-based, hunger relief nonprofit working with all denominations to bridge the hunger gap between 96 billion pounds (44 billion kilograms) of food wasted every year in the United States and the nearly 40 million Americans who live in poverty. SoSA relies on support from donors, volunteers and farmers as they glean nutritious excess produce from farmers' fields and orchards after harvest and deliver it to people in need across the United States. SoSA provides nutritious, healthy produce through programs such as the Potato Project, the Gleaning Network, Harvest of Hope, and the Seed Potato Project.
"We Are Little Reapers/We Are Little Gleaners/There's Work for the Hand" Video Table Singers The Table Singers, based in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, gave their first program in 1987.
A beautiful sunset from our front porch we enjoyed at 8:15 last evening.
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At sunrise today we got a wonderful view of the full moon from the west.
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Row after row of corn as we travel throughout the county.
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We came upon this large field of cabbage in our travels this morning.
There will likely be some gleaning from this field during harvest.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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