Friday, May 21, 2010

Leaving back Food for the Poor

The Passage of Meditation:

Leviticus 23:22

And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God. King James Version (KJV)

"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 the alien. I am the LORD your God." New International Version (NIV)

Leviticus 19:9

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. King James Version (KJV)

There has been a young man who I have been assisting financially since 2007. I was not pleased that everytime the fellow found himself in financial quagmire, that he called me or visited me at my office.

I believed that I have spent over JMD 100,000 helping this young man. I helped with groceries, gave him capital contributions for small self-start business ventures such as rearing poultry and the sale of mobile phone cards. I gave money to assist with getting necessary documentation to get jobs overseas and for skill training.

Yet, the young man has had calamity after calamity. He has been robbed by gunmen and his relatives, have been homeless a couple times, lost employment and have not been able to prosper at his business ventures.

I reached break point last week, feeling that it is almost 3 years, and the young man still did not reach anywhere to the point where he was self-reliant. He was still where he started, despite the financial assistance that I have given for self-employment, skill training certification and towards gaining employment.

This week, I attempted to meditate on the Word for the season of Pentecost, awaiting some fresh insight into ministry and purpose.

This text of scripture came out to me, showing me an underlying principle of the kingdom of G-d.

I have come to point where I have learnt that 100% of what we earn is G-d's, who expects us to use that 100% in the following ways:

  • give a tenth to his workers (10%) (Malachi 3:8-10)
  • give an offering when we feel greatful to do so (2 Corinthians 9:7)
  • spend on family, wife and children (man who does not do so is worse than an infidel -see 1 Timothy 5:8)
  • spend on parents (honouring parents actually mean spending on them - Mark 7:11-12)
  • spend a percentage to sustain ourselves as well as pay people who we owe (as the ox must not be muzzled - 1 Timothy 5:18)
  • Pay our taxes (give what is due to Caesar and other rulers -  Luke 20:25)

Well the scripture text also supports the fact that we must not spend all our remaining (90%) on ourselves, but to leave back some money for others. Even after we have spent our money in the ways I have mentioned, we must still attempt to hold back some to distribute to the poor and people we are unfamiliar with.

The underlying principle is that we should not spend all that we earn, but are to leave a portion to be spent in giving alms. In this sense, we must plan and have an intention to give from the time we collect the pay check. Hence provision must be made from collecting the pay check to set aside a portion to give away to persons or a person in need. This portion however is not to be given to friends (who are not poor) and family, but to those who you either know as being poor or those who you are unfamiliar with.

In this case, the alms giving usually take the form of food provision. As such, I have come back to the persuasion that I need to put a side food when I go to the supermarket or market for others who are less fortunate.

While the passage speaks to food, I also wondered if it speaks the same for time? Should I never give 100% commitment to any activity, but always leave a portion of uncommitted energy for others?

For further reading of scriptures on the subject of how G-d wants us to treat the poor please view:

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