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What’s left

What’s left

Something to read

When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, do not glean what is left; it shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this.

- Deuteronomy 24:21-22.

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.

Something to do

Examine your own financial habits in the light of this biblical example, perhaps involving your family if relevant in the conversation. Is there anything you’d like to change to make sure that what you don’t need goes to those who do?

Something to pray

God of abundance, thank you that you have always been concerned for those who have the least. Even when times are hard and I feel I have less than I did, incline my heart towards justice and help me to share out what I can. Amen.

Today’s contributor is Rev Claire Jones