(The Lord told Moses) "When you harvest your crops, don't reap the corners of your fields, and don't pick up stray grains of wheat from the ground. It is the same with your grape crop - don't strip every last piece of fruit from the vines, and don't pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and for those traveling through, for I am Jehovah your God.
"You must not steal nor lie nor defraud. You must not swear to a falsehood, thus bringing reproach upon the name of your God, for I am Jehovah.
"You shall not rob nor oppress anyone, and you shall pay your hired workers promptly. If something is due them, don't even keep it overnight.
"You must not curse the deaf nor trip up a blind man as he walks. Fear your God; I am Jehovah!
"Judges must always be just in their sentences, not noticing whether a person is poor or rich; they must always be perfectly fair.
"Don't gossip. Don't falsely accuse your neighbor of some crime, for I am Jehovah.
"Don't hate your brother. Rebuke anyone who sins; don't let him get away with it, or you will be equally guilty. Don't seek vengeance. Don't bear a grudge; but love your neighbor as yourself, for I am Jehovah." Leviticus 19: 9-18 (TLB)
Mike Medeiros is from California. His church college group had been transformed through acts of service to residents and transients in their city. They were studying the book of Leviticus, and they were discussing the practice of leaving the gleanings (a portion of the harvest) as an act of loving their neighbor. One woman asked, "Why just the gleanings? Why not more?" Since we live in an urban setting nowhere near a farm, they created their own garden and named it Harvest of Hope. Seeds grew along with their love for their community.
They came up with the idea of a "reverse tithe." They kept the gleanings and gave away most of the produce. On their first distribution day, the woman who originally posed the "why not" question handed a box of produce to someone and said, "I am so glad to meet you; we grew this for you." Her comment reflected her joyful obedience to God's command to love our neighbor. For the college group, it was the gift of love that kept on growing!
To the folks at The First UMC in Gulfport, don't forget to bring your imperishable goods to church so we can help support the food bank in Gulfport. Thanks for your participation and the desire to help our neighbors.
Prayer: Gracious God, we praise you for providing what we need. Help us to be aware and active in serving those in need with the resources you have so graciously given to us, in Jesus' name, amen.
This is not just a Thanksgiving project any longer. We hope to make this a monthly project to help those in our community of Gulfport; so please bring your goods any Sunday. Our pray is to help keep the food pantry in Gulfport filled.