gleaning

The Principle of Gleaning

Leviticus 19:9-10: When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen.Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.

Deuteronomy 24:19-22: When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God 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 foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.

 

I love the principle of gleaning. God commanded the Israelites to leave the edges of their fields unharvested to meet the needs of widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. There is so much to learn from this principle:

  1. Gleaning requires you to leave margin in your life: To obey this command, the Israelites had to plan to live on less than 100% of their earnings. Every spring they planted their fields, sowing precious seed grain all the way to the edge of their fields while knowing that they would not get the full return on that investment. They planted that grain for the sake of the widows, orphans, foreigners, and poor who would need it.How can we leave margin in our lives and invest in those in need? – We have to live within our means. Know the difference between things you need and the things that would be nice to have. Make donations a line item in your budget and work toward growing that bottom line.
  2. Gleaning does not replace the tithe: When the Old Testament law established the tithe, there was no “if” or “or.” The tithe, the first 10%, given to the maintenance of the priesthood and the church, is discussed separate from the principle of gleaning. The Israelites were expected to leave the edges for the needy to glean and give the first fruits to God.I’ve heard preaching that suggests charitable donations can replace tithing. I disagree. The principle of gleaning suggests that we are to tithe and give to the needy. I’m going out on a limb here, but if you don’t trust your church, or don’t believe in their mission enough to tithe, you need to prayerfully consider what you’re doing there. If you can’t afford to do both, you need to evaluate your budget and work toward change. And don’t forget that you can give things other than money. Your time spent volunteering and mentoring is a great way to invest in others!
  3. Gleaning is not a handout, but an opportunity for dignified work: The law didn’t say, “when you harvest your field, pick up every crumb and give some of them to people in need.” Instead, it instructed the Israelites to leave an opportunity for dignified employment that allowed the widows, orphans, foreigners, and poor a chance to provide for themselves.There are so many ways that we can give, but the most meaningful, and the gifts that make the biggest, long-term, life-changing difference are gifts that provide opportunity. Fair trade employment, microfinance loans, education and job training, and legal advocacy do more than just fill a hungry stomach for a day or two. They actually produce opportunities for dignified employment and change that provides more than a temporary fix.

Old Testament law has a lot to teach us about God and what He values. The principle of gleaning is an example of that, revealing how God sees our responsibilities to our fellow man, and what we can do to love others!

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The Word of our God Endures Forever

Recently there has been some upset in the world of Christian women. High profile authors and bloggers have made statements about politics, race relations, and homosexuality that others have disagreed with and which some have even called heretical. There have been some scathing posts on blogs and social media, and a lot of people have found the “unfollow” button to be quite handy. This past week, one of my friends made a statement that from now on she would be moving away from reading the words of others, and recentering her quiet time on reading the Bible. I love how she didn’t point fingers or argue for or against anyone; she just reminded us that our primary source should always be the word itself. In that spirit, I bring you this selection of Bible verses. (All references are from the New International Version)

Proverbs 11:25 – A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Proverbs 22:9 – The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.

Malachi 3:10 –  “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

Matthew 10:8 – Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

Luke 3:11 – Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.

Luke 6:38 – Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

2 Corinthians 9:6-9 – Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”

 

James 2:14-26 – What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[e] and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

John 13:35 – By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

Have a blessed and generous Thanksgiving, everyone!

 

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We the People

On Tuesday America held a very contentious election, and today we honor current and former military personnel with Veteran’s Day. As the election results have been rolling in, people around the country have been expressing both hope and fear in loud, angry ways. Social media is practically unbearable right now as some gloat while others mourn. But tucked among those posts, I came across these thoughts from my very wise and well-spoken friend, Laura. Laura is a Godly woman, a former member of the Army National Guard, and one of the smartest people I know. She is a natural writer, and has put together her thoughts on the election with such eloquence that I asked her to let me share them with all of you. Please remember that if you chose to leave a comment on this page, it must be civil. You may disagree with certain points if you like, but any rude bashing of individuals will be removed. Thank you.

 

Today’s verse of the day struck a chord with me and I hope it resonates also with some of you. 1 Peter 2:15-16 “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.”

This election has polarized America, a country I love, a people I would gladly die to protect. There are a lot of problems with the way our government is run and many changes do need to happen. Whether right or wrong, THAT is the reason Donald Trump was elected. He was not elected based on his character (let’s face it, neither viable candidate would have been elected on character). He was not elected because Americans are filled with hatred for one another. On the contrary, the majority of Americans – even those who can’t see or don’t understand the plight of their fellow citizens – do not hate or fear their fellow Americans and residents.

My fellow Americans, we need to stop, take a step back, and breathe. Many of our fellow citizens and residents are scared of the future. They are afraid that the minority of hate-filled, bigoted Americans will send us 50 years (or more) back in time and they will lose the BASIC rights afforded to those who live here. Many are afraid that they will be unfairly and unjustly deported, many are afraid that their parents who aren’t here legally will be justly deported, still others believe they will again be judged by the color of their skin, their religion, or the lifestyle they live – and whether we agree with them or not, their fears are real. In some instances, their fears are justified. We have come a long way in America, and I would hate to see this country torn apart by hatred and fear.

I don’t know what the next four years holds. I don’t know if Trump is an answer to prayer, or a silver-tongued deceiver, but I do know that this is MY country. This is OUR country and “We the people” is more than just a line on a really old document. It cannot and will not fall apart unless we do. Is it possible for the next four years to be bleak, for it to take years after he leaves office to recover? Yes it is. But we’ve had bad leaders before who’ve made terrible mistakes – and we have recovered. Is it possible for us to be surprised by an unlikely leader who is both Republican and Democrat, who will actually try to work in the best interest of the country and its people? Yes it is. Is it possible for this to be just another four years of nothing amazingly good or bad – much like the last 2-3 years? Yes it is. Only time will tell what kind of leader he will evolve into, but “We the People” are what’s important here – regardless of what he or the government as a whole does.

So I call on my fellow believers, and fellow citizens who may not believe exactly as I do. Let’s silence the ignorant talk of foolish people, not by responding to hate with hate, but by doing good. Sometimes things get shaken up in our world to help us understand what is important. This country has lived through wars, through feast, through famine, through natural disaster, through politicians, and political movements because of its people. Because we are able to set aside our differences when it matters most and unite as brothers and sisters in one great American family.

So the next time you see someone voicing their fears, don’t attack their fears. You don’t know where they have been. Respond in love and let them know you are there for them and so are the majority of Americans. The next time you see someone acting out of hate, don’t react with more hate. Remind them how far we’ve come as a nation and that it doesn’t take hatred and violence to bring about the changes we need as a nation. Just like any family, it takes love, it takes respect, it takes compromise and understanding.

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Charity Review and Service Project: Dress for Success

The answer to long-lasting change in the lives of the world’s poor and hungry is opportunity. If people have the opportunity to get an education, start a business, or get a good-paying job, they can break the cycle of poverty for good. That’s why my favorite non-profits address the vital need for opportunity. That’s why I support fair trade companies, microfinance for access to capital, and non-profits that feed and educate kids around the world.

Recently I learned of another charity focused on opportunity: Dress for Success. The mission of Dress for Success (from their website): “to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.” Not a handout, an opportunity. An opportunity to get a professional job and to break the cycle of poverty for good.

So how do they do it? Dress for Success has local offices in most major cities, including right here in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (1549 University Avenue West
St. Paul). At the local office, they collect clean, current-season, professional apparel, and distribute it to women entering the job market. They also offer career services like job interview training, career coaching, and mentoring to help clients find and keep jobs.

You can easily see how their work helps women overcome a significant barrier and gain the opportunity for a better future! Charity Navigator has given Dress for Success a perfect 4-star rating, so you can feel good about supporting their work. They accept financial donations, volunteers (working with both the clothing side and the workforce-prep side), and donations of clean, in-season, professional women’s clothing and accessories. You can bring in a small load from your personal collection, or you can host a clothing drive (info on the website under your local chapter). Right now I’m in the process of sorting through my Great Wardrobe Purge collection, and I’ll be taking a load to DFS in the near future. If you’re interested in doing the same, check out this list from their website:

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#FSFShoptober Roundup

During the month of October, I’ve been on Facebook, sharing ways that you can make a positive difference with your holiday shopping. As the month comes to a close, I’ve decided to use this week’s post to gather all that information in one place.

And don’t forget about the #FSFShoptober Giveaway! There is still time to enter. All you have to do is share any #FSFShoptober post on Facebook, and you receive one entry for each shared post. One lucky sharer will receive a fair trade gift pack, and a second winner receives a Nourish Hope necklace. Contest ends November 1.

 

Fair trade/ethical retailers:

Clothing:

AG Jeans – http://www.agjeans.com
Clothed in Hope – http://www.clothedinhope.org
Ethical WARES – http://www.ethicalwares.com
Fair Indigo – http://www.fairindigo.com
Fishers Finery – http://www.fishersfinery.com
Fresh Produce – http://www.freshproduce.com
Pact Organic – http://www.wearpact.com
Punjammies – http://www.sudara.org/collections/PUNJAMMIES
Marketplace Handworks of India – http://www.marketplaceindia.com
Sevenly – http://www.sevenly.org
Three Cords – http://www.threecordshaiti.com
Zady – http://www.zady.com
Accessories:

Clothed in Hope – http://www.clothedinhope.org
Ethical WARES – http://www.ethicalwares.com
FMSC Marketplace – http://www.fmscmarketplace.org
Joyn India – http://www.joynindia.com
Marketplace Handworks of India – http://www.marketplaceindia.com
Rahab’s Rope – http://www.rahabsrope.com
Ten Thousand Villages – http://www.tenthousandvillages.com
Three Cords – http://www.threecordshaiti.com

Housewares:

FMSC Marketplace – http://www.fmscmarketplace.org
Marketplace Handworks of India – http://www.marketplaceindia.com
Ten Thousand Villages – http://www.tenthousandvillages.com

Other:

Caribou Coffee – http://www.cariboucoffee.com
Zambeezi Lip Balm – http://www.zambeezi.com
Fair Trade Friday – http://www.fairtradefriday.club
 

Small businesses:

Create Hope Cuffs – http://www.etsy.com/shop/CreateHopeCuffs

Etsy sellers – http://www.etsy.com

Live.Simple.Soap – http://www.livesimplesoap.com

Made New Co. – http://www.etsy.com/shop/MadeNewCo

Multi-level Marketing or Direct Sales Companies – Fair Trade MLMs:
Sseko – http://www.ssekodesigns.com
Noonday Collection – http://www.noondaycollection.com
Trades of Hope – http://www.tradesofhope.com

Ruffly Buffalo – http://www.zibbet.com/therufflybuffalo

Scrappy Turtle – http://www.etsy.com/shop/ScrappyTurtle

Voice Jewelry by Hannah Kallio – http://www.hannahkallio.org

 

Tips and tricks:

Adoption Fundraisers

Amazon Smile – http://www.smile.amazon.com

Compassion Gift Catalog – http://www.compassion.com/charitable-gift-catalog.htm

Donations as a Gift

 

If you have a small business, a link for your MLM/Direct Sales page, or an ethical retailer that you love, leave a comment below! No sales pitches, just the name of the business, what it offers, and a web link.

(Spam, inappropriate links, politics, sketchy information, lengthy sales pitches, etc. may be removed at my discretion)