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Leviticus 23:22 “And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.”
You shall not reap right up to its edge. In other words, there should be margin. It’s the first rule of graphic design – leave margin; it’s the first rule of first grade – don’t write in the margin; it’s in God’s Levitical law – leave margin.
After a week of snow and ice keeping us all within our own neighborhood for several days, the idea of margin in our schedules emerged again. In my household of 4, we already have to defend the margin in our weekly rhythm to be home. You feel it when the rest is forced, the awareness of what once was a full week and how quickly it is an empty calendar. Rest.
Of course, the Lord wasn’t specifically talking about time when He gave this command. It was so practical, don’t be so greedy as to go back over the harvest again and again, instead leave what falls – allow it to bless others. Be intentional. It’s this same gleaning that allows Ruth and Naomi to fill their stomachs in their widowed state. The Lord’s command served the purpose of caring for His people.
The practical implication here is huge. I am no financial advisor, but I read here some amazing financial wisdom from the Word. Work to create margin. Leave room as you can for the poor and the sojourner among you. Just imagine the freedom to know you can bless others when they cross by your crop.
I speak for myself when I say every area of my life could be evaluated and the question asked: “Is there margin here for those in need?” Do I have enough time to share love and the Gospel with those the Lord brings? Have I disciplined my spending so that when the chance comes for generosity I can act?
I could give a list here of all the ways you could give, but I love the idea that the purpose of the margin in our lives is for the Lord to allow us to be a part of the blessings that He provides others. I’m praying for all of our eyes to be opened so that we don’t miss those he brings to us.
I hope this passage challenges and encourages you the way it has me.
It is hard to believe that Christmas 2020 is only nine days away! If you are like most people this Christmas may be looking quite different from most Christmases past. Our family tradition since having grown children is for everyone to gather at our house for Christmas brunch clad in Christmas pjs, and last year even matching reindeer antlers! Each family contributes their favorite foods and we eat way too much. Following brunch Patrick reads the Christmas story from Luke, although I’m not sure how attentive some are since they are anticipating the gifts that follow – but we try! Gifts are opened with lots of fun and laughter and more memories are stored in our hearts. This year we have all decided that cramming 19 or 20 people into our den would not be a wise choice, thanks to a certain virus we all know and vehemently dislike. So . . . our oldest daughter, Lori, and her family will stay in Murfreesboro. Our other two daughters, Andrea and Amy, will celebrate at their homes with the possibility of visiting with us later in the day outside if the weather permits. Patrick and I will be alone together on Christmas morning for the first time ever!! Yes, I am sad about all these changes because family traditions make treasured memories. However, Christmas – the real Christmas has not changed at all for over 2000 years! The Jesus whom we worship as our Savior and King, “is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) as Brother Chad reminded us in his sermon last Sunday. The way we celebrate may be different, but the One we celebrate remains the same. As we prepare for this Christmas, may we be reminded in various ways of the One we celebrate. When we see the beautiful Christmas lights, let us remember that Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12). As we put out our nativity, remember that Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11) and the Lamb of God (John 1:29) as well as the Only Begotten Son of God (John 3:16). As we eat our meals during this season, may we recall that He is the Bread of Life (John 6:35) and the Living Water (John 4:10). When we put a wreath or decoration on our door, let us think about Jesus being the Door to salvation (John 10:9). Looking up at the sky on a clear, cold winter night, we see a myriad of stars and remember that we follow the Bright Morning Star (Revelation 22:16). We hear reports on the news almost daily about the high stress levels and increased suicide rate since this pandemic has rocked our world. We can find peace in our Redeemer (Job 19:25) and Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6) and pray that others will come to know Him as well. Regardless of how you celebrate Christmas this year, may you find joy in the One whose birth, death, and resurrection has given us the greatest gift of all – eternal life. Merry Christmas!
Kelly and I have watched each season of the Netflix series, “The Crown.” I’m sure like many of you we find it intriguing and entertaining. It’s about a life and culture that is foreign to nearly the entire world’s population.
Last week we watched episode seven of season four and learned a disturbing truth about the royal family that hits close to home. Family trees are complicated, but the family tree of the British Royal family is especially complex, but I will try to make this short and get to the point.
King George V (1865-1936) had two sons, Edward (1894-1972) and George (1895-1952). When King George V passed away his eldest son Edward became King Edward VIII but abdicated the throne less than a year after being crowned. Because of the abdication Edward’s brother George became king. George was married to Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon and they had two daughters Elizabeth and Margaret.
Now this is where the story becomes troubling. Because of the abdication Prince George and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. In this particular episode I learned that the integrity of the bloodline to the crown must be protected at all costs. Queen Elizabeth had two nieces that were mentally disabled and they had three cousins that were disabled as well. To protect the bloodline to the crown these five family members were hospitalized never to have any contact with their family. They were even declared dead in the record books.
Fast forward fifteen years and King George VI has passed away and his daughter, Elizabeth is now Queen Elizabeth II. Many years pass before it is discovered that the five disabled family members are actually alive in a hospital.
Kelly and I have an intellectually disabled son, so this particular episode hits close to home. We were greatly bothered by the attitudes and decisions by the royal family. Now to be fair those same decisions may not be made today, but it is troubling that they were ever made.
It has made me think about my son, Harrison a lot this week. How could I or anyone put a child away, declared dead never to be seen again all to protect the image of the family? Psalm 139 tells us that we are all “fearfully and wonderfully made” in the image of God. I have also thought about what God did to protect His bloodline. You see since Adam the bloodline to the Father was tainted by sin, but God in His love for me and you sent His perfect son Jesus to shed HIs blood and restore the integrity of the bloodline to the Father for anyone that would receive Him as Savior.
All life is precious and valuable whether you are like my son Harrison or heir to a monarchy. Romans 8:16-17 tell us, “The spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.”
During this Thanksgiving week give thanks to God for all that He has done for you through Jesus. He has adopted you into His family and made you an heir to THE KINGDOM, which is greater than any earthly kingdom.