“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare. … You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God.”
We should never underestimate what obedience to a simple command from God can produce. In the language of Leviticus 19:9-10, such obedience will produce a harvest in our lives of faith that will overflow for generations to come. It will turn our little spiritual biographies into the sort of stories that legends are made of—the kind that others pass down for the rest of time.
I say that because God’s Levitical command here to show compassion to the poor sojourners in this commonwealth is the foundation for perhaps the most moving love story in the whole Bible. It’s the story of a wealthy but godly landowner named Boaz, who obeys this Leviticus 19 command and leaves grain for the poor to eat, year by year, season by season, day by day. And one day, a famine in Moab sweeps a woman named Ruth to Boaz’s fields to glean her beggars’ portion. And it’s a gripping romance from there, a tale with many twists and turns, Shakespearian in its drama, coalescing in Boaz becoming Ruth’s kinsman redeemer—a living allegory of Christ and His Church. But through their loving union, God gives them a son named Obed. And Obed grows up to have a son named Jesse. And Jesse grows up to have a son named David. The David—the giant-slaying, man-after-God’s-own-heart David who stands at the head of the Messianic line of kings! And none of that would’ve happened for Boaz had he not obeyed God’s Leviticus 19 command and simply left behind a little extra grain for the poor.
Friend, what are we actively doing month by month to help the poor sojourners in our own society? I’m challenged by God’s heart for these wanderers here. Outside of my giving to my local church, am I giving enough to help the orphans and widows that fill society? Am I sharing in God’s well of compassion for the poor? We can do more, friend. We should do more! Just imagine what we’ll miss if we don’t.