The Gleaning Rule

13th annual Island Harvest Gleaning Project, South Hampton, NY, USA

Leviticus 23:22 ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I [am] the LORD your God.’

Was listening to Chuck Missler and came across the rule of gleaning. Here is the Wikipedia description:

Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest. Some ancient cultures promoted gleaning as an early form of a welfare system.

What an awesome law, Welfare for those who were WILLING to do a little work and clean up what the farmer had left out.

  1. its a free system, no one is paying taxes for this but what the farmers don’t harvest
  2. it requires that those who don’t have money or jobs do a little bit of work to get what is otherwise free food for them
  3. it makes good use of what a farmer leaves behind

I think its such a great way to help others – and there is no effort, you just don’t sweep your field twice for leftovers, you leave them…! Of course, people without money today would have no idea how to make food out of the ‘raw ingredients’ that come off a field… is a shame. My problem with welfare, UI, EI, whatever you call it is that it costs us so much taxes, there is so much paper work and overhead required to be sure people are eligible. And, it doesn’t push people to work very well, many are just happy to be on welfare collecting a cheque every two weeks seemingly for free. I think it would be real healthy for people without work to do something like this, be offered real work to make money for food but the people would revolt at that idea.

I guess my more ‘spiritual’ thought, aside from all my personal opinions and rant stuff, is,… how can we put this rule into practice today? Seems like such a simple godly rule, a tiny thing we can do to take care of the poor and needy.

Lets see if I can think of a few ways. And some might work better in more urban areas… I don’t know.

  • Take your used clothing to goodwill or some other second hand place, its a great way to recycle and give others a chance and some low priced clothes. This works great and is well in use all over.
  • providing rides for hitch hikers if you’re going that way anyways? We’re scared of HHs these days and there aren’t many but if you can, its a nice way to help others out
  • take a portion of your meal which may otherwise go in the fridge or simply in the garbage and take it to someone who maybe has less money – better yet, invite someone over for a meal – hey, its one less they have to pay for and put together
  • Grow vegetables in your backyard and take a portion to the food bank – or just buy a couple extra cans of food for the food bank. Often grocery stores have bins  that you can drop off food into right after the cash. Its a real easy way to give

As I’m thinking of these, I guess sometimes people who can’t afford food or clothes are more or less invisible to us, they show up at foodbanks and stuff. I can’t think on, at least I don’t know of any around us or in our church that might need assistance, a little extra food, or whatever – good time to ask eh!

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One thought on “The Gleaning Rule

  1. People in need can be very good at disguising it — especially in our churches. On Sunday morning, everyone is dressed up (or at least tidy), people are chatting about where to go for lunch, fat envelopes get put in the offering plate. It’s hard for someone in need to admit they’ve only got a box of KD in the cupboard to feed their kids for the weekend. One woman actually did admit this at a ladies’ bible study I was a part of years ago, and you could have heard a pin drop. I think I was the only one who could identify with her (although I’ve never been in a situation as quite as desperate as hers). Point is, people in need are alot less rare than we think.

    I like the Gleaning rule idea — it goes along with Dad’s theory that we need to tithe off of everything we have, not just our paycheck. Like, what would happen if we gave 10% of our groceries to the foodbank every week, 10% of our time to the church, 10% of our vehicle usage to someone who needs a ride?

    Hmmm, now I’m convicted …

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