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Reap harvest, but don’t forget those in need

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Higher Ground: Sometimes it’s hard, but we have multiple ways to share with others.

As the summer progresses, a farmer may look forward to a successful crop season. Or steady milk production with ample health tests. Or growth time for animals being prepared for market. 

Even in troublesome times, many farmers have revenue opportunities from prospective buyers. At the same time, there are many people who do not have the essentials for a productive life situation. What does the Bible say is a farmer’s role for these people in need?

Scripture states in 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 24:19-21 states, “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.”

I see these verses as an instruction for living in the farm community. Is this directive only for agriculture? I would say definitely no. Those who receive their wages from vocations in business, banking, education, retail, transportation, entertainment and others are included. 

These verses command a lifestyle of support for one industry, but the concept is appropriate for all who labor for their own support and families. Their income may come from their skills, talents, service to an employer, retirement and investment services, or a number of other sources, but the principles in scripture definitely apply.

We all have multiple ways to share with others. Personal time or funds for needs in your neighborhood or area; funding or mission trips through nonprofit organizations such as churches or mission groups; or support agencies that may apply your gifts locally or worldwide.

Whatever approach you take for others, may it be accomplished by careful thought and prayer. May you and your family be mightily blessed for your sharing with others. 

Psalm 41:1 states, “Happy is the one who cares for the poor; the Lord will save him in a day of adversity.”

Westfall writes from Westmoreland, N.Y. He is vice president of the Mohawk Valley Chapter of Fellowship of Christian Farmers International.

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