Tuesday, 23 March 2010

The Gleaning Solution

The Scriptures have some significant things to say about caring for the poor and oppressed that might challenge even the most acceptable social policy... 

"...you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother" (Deut. 15:7).

"Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker..." (Prov. 14:31)

And while charity is commended as an act of compassion toward the poor, it seems that the Scriptures particularly condemn the oppression of the poor. One of the most insidious oppressions of the poor is to deprive them of hope. One of the means of hope for the poor is to give them opportunities.

Interestingly, the Scriptures indicate that God regards the solution to poverty as fairness ("justice") leading to opportunities. This is particularly illustrated in the instructions to 'the blessed' to allow 'the poor' to glean their fields. 

“And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 23:22)

Why didn't God command that the wealthy farmer simply go back and harvest the gleanings to give to the poor waiting outside their gate?
Is it fair ("just") to expect the poor to take advantage of the opportunity presented to them to alleviate their poor conditions?

The next time you pray for your needs to be met you might want to consider that God answers such prayers with provision but more likely with an opportunity. Consider that God's Word prescribes "the Gleaning Solution".

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