Something to think about
If you scan your groceries through a self-checkout machine at a supermarket, you may be given the total cost and then asked if you’d like to round up to the nearest pound. The idea is that you’re unlikely to feel the difference to your bank account when you spend £34 rather than £33.82, but the extra pennies, when gathered together, make a difference to the charitable causes for which they are collected.
This is one way in which the biblical model of gleaning – leaving the second harvest, the edges of fields, the fruit that fell in the first gathering, for those in need to collect – might be manifested today. It’s the contactless equivalent to putting your change in a charity jar.
But leaving the gleanings for those without family or other support, was not a matter of charity in Scripture. It was a matter of justice. The owner of a vineyard has a means of supporting themselves, whereas the orphan or widow doesn’t. So it is only right and just that the extra crop should go to those who need it, rather than those who don’t. It’s a challenge to the financial mindset of our society, where we see wealth as belonging to the wealthy, rather than to those who need it most.