(Deuteronomy 24:19-22 ESV) 19 “When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. 21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. 22 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this.
Because we are born as the offspring of Adam, our nature (flesh) is contrary to the things of the Spirit. When we experience new birth in Christ Jesus, our old nature passes away and all things become new. We become like Christ. He places His nature in us and we begin living a very different kind of life than we did before Christ.
In the Old Testament, people lived according to the Law; principles that were established by God for the purpose of training His people in righteousness. Most of what God required through the Law was contrary to natural inclinations.
Generosity is something that must be developed over a lifetime. Very few people are naturally generous. This is because we have a greater drive toward self-preservation. God wants us to work. He is pleased when we gather the harvest He has provided for us. In our Scripture passage God says, (1) When you reap your harvest, (2) When you beat (shake) your olive trees, (3) When you gather your grapes. Notice, there is no if–just when.
However, God also wants us to consider others as we are laboring for our own needs. He instructed His people to leave behind a portion of the harvest for those who were homeless, orphaned, and widowed. The command was clear. This action was to be done purposely. Consider these observations concerning this command.
- The obedient acts of the harvesters served to establish a spirit of generosity in their own heart. The more they obeyed, the more giving became second nature to them. Never forget that your continued blessing is tied to your generous giving. “That the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” (Verse 19)
- There are people who genuinely need assistance. God was very clear about who the recipients were to be. (Homeless, Orphans, Widows)
- The “receivers” were to glean their own “pickings.” It was not meant to be a handout. The fruit was to be left for them, but they were responsible to gather it.
God has blessed me abundantly. I don’t mean to suggest that I’m among the “rich” in material goods. But, neither am I destitute. I have the ability to make a living that is sufficient to provide for my family. I’ve learned how to work hard and pillow my head each evening with a sense of satisfaction in my labor.
But, I want more. I want to be a generous distributor to those who are less fortunate than me. I want others to be blessed because of my obedience to Christ. And, I want to always realize that everything passing through my hands is a gift from God, meant to bring glory to His name and to encourage and edify others.
PRAYER: Thank you for being so generous with me. Your blessings are evident in every area of my life. Help me to pass Your goodness along to others who are need, so that together we may experience Your divine providence. Amen.