The Poor and the Marketplace
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2, by Os Hillman
"When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God" (Lev 19:9-10).
God has a special place in his heart for the poor. In the book of Isaiah we read these words:
"Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh? Isaiah 58:6-7
So how does God want us to care for the poor? Is it through government welfare programs, food stamps, or soup kitchens? God gives us his answer in the Old Testament story of Boaz, Ruth and Naomi. It was customary for farmers to not glean their entire fields in order to leave some of the crop for the poor to glean. This allowed the poor to come at the end of the day and work to receive their provision. This is how the widow Naomi was able to care for herself. Boaz allowed the poor in his community to come to his field at the end of the day to get the leftovers of the harvest.
Notice that God created a partnership between the marketplace and the poor. I believe it is the marketplace that has a responsibility to the poor. By providing an opportunity to glean something from our businesses through an opportunity to work, we provide provision and dignity to the poor.
What are the gleanings in your business? Consider how you might serve to poor through them.
Heavenly Father, Please bless my pastor today, and all the Christian leaders who serve you in the face of challenges each and every day. Make me a blessing to them, to others, and to you. Help me to stand for you, and to support our brothers and sisters in Christ everywhere, whether at church, my neighborhood, workplace, school, or around the world. Show us how we can help provide the means and the knowledge of just what is needed most. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Fried Chicken Madness
Most Americans have good jobs and plenty of food on their kitchen table. For example I live in a very affluent neighborhood in Atlanta and yet over the past several years I've watched some of my neighbors lose their affluent homes because they lost their jobs. And as sad as that fact is -what gripes me the most is seeing how little people lend a helping hand when help is needed the most. It's like we have a don't ask, don't tell policy in this country when it comes needing and asking for help. And I'm no different. . .
Earlier in the summer my husband stopped by Kroger to purchase a whole fried chicken for dinner. While waiting on the chicken to fry (yes, I know fried foods are bad for you) the woman behind the counter mentioned that grocery store policy was to throw out all the leftover chicken that didn't sell that day. She said, "You'd be amazed the amount of fried chicken that I have to put inside a trash bag and throw away every night because nobody buy's it" but that's company policy. Granted, I'm not in the grocery store business, I'm in marketing. But armed with this information, you at least have to ask yourself just how much food is actually throw out from your local grocery stores?
A few months ago, a distant relative died. My parents attended his funeral in Murfressboro, Tennessee and while at his funeral they learned that this man's Christian ministry was to stop by several local grocery stores in his area to pick up day old bread that was to be throw out and delivered it to his local food bank. What a simple and lovely gesture for lending a helping hand.
My point here isn't about Fried chicken madness or the delivery of day old bread to your local food bank. Today's post by Os Hillman is teaching us to open our eyes and put on our thinking caps. Why don't you take your boss or your best friend to lunch. Brainstorm together and try and find some fresh new ways to help people glean the fields. Together we can make a difference in the lives of others. Life isn't about hand-outs, its about a hand up and changing how we do business and church.