Yesterday I heard a message from Ps. Alun Davies of Australia which really inspired me. God commands the Israelites, “When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien , the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyards, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow.” Deuteronomy 24v19 – 21
Here is a simple but powerful lesson/command. Don’t shake the olive tree twice! Leave some for those in need. In these days of consumerism, we often use everything – 100% of our resources and income – on ourselves. We buy what we don’t really need, and spend more money than we have. And in so doing we leave no margin for compassion in our lives. We need to factor in that margin and leave some of our time, money, resources etc free so that we can bless others. I find that so inspiring and it’s got me thinking about all sorts of ways I can put it into practice.
Here’s a lovely true life story that beautifully illustrates this lesson from the olive tree. When Naomi’s husband and sons died, she returned with her daughter-in-law Ruth to her homeland of Israel because she knew they practised the command we read about in Deuteronomy. She knew there would be gleanings and food left for her that she could gather. And when she sent Ruth into the fields, the gleanings were more than just wheat! Ruth found a godly husband – Boaz. And they became the great great grandparents of King David!