Leaving room in the margins


Our last teaching in the Common Threads series was on Finances.(firstdecatur.org/sermons)

Pastor Wayne used Scripture to give us God’s perspective on money and wealth and stewardship.

As I looked over my notes this morning, I thought about Ruth.

As in Old Testament…stuck between Judges and 1 Samuel…Moabite widow….great-grandmother of King David…that Ruth…

how when she accompanied her impoverished mother-in-law to Bethlehem, went out to the neighboring fields to glean so that they would not starve.

Gleaning was walking behind the harvesters and picking up any seed they missed.

Gleaning was going to the edges of the field that had been left untouched for just such a purpose.

Gleaning was part of the Jewish law.

….When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your land or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor  shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the Lord your God….   Leviticus 19:9-10  NIV

Because God’s heart is generous….He calls us to be generous.

I once heard a teaching from a man in our church…who pointed out that God doesn’t set the exact place where the very edges are.

He leaves that up to us.

In the story of Ruth, the field where she gleaned belonged to a man named Boaz.

When he saw Ruth, she stood out. She was most assuredly easy to identify as a stranger.

A Moabite. A foreigner. A widow who was caring for a widow.

And out of generosity, he instructed his harvesters to reap less and leave wider margins for her to glean.

We, too, have a certain amount that is given to us. God invites us to use only the portion we really need and to share the rest with those who do not have enough.

As you ponder how much you are going to leave around the edges of your finances so that  can you give to others, let me also mention that with Valentine’s Day approaching the book of Ruth is one of the most tender love stories ever written.

Instead of shades of gray…it is penned in shades of red…

Redemption Red <3

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