The Poor and the Marketplace
When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God (Lev 19:9-10).
God has a special place in his heart for the poor. In the book of Isaiah we read these words:
"Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?" Isa 58:6-7
So how does God want us to care for the poor? Is it through government welfare programs, food stamps, or soup kitchens? God gives us his answer in the Old Testament story of Boaz, Ruth and Naomi. It was customary for farmers to not glean their entire fields in order to leave some of the crop for the poor to glean. This allowed the poor to come at the end of the day and work to receive their provision. This is how the widow Naomi was able to care for herself. Boaz allowed the poor in his community to come to his field at the end of the day to get the leftovers of the harvest.
Notice that God created a partnership between the marketplace and the poor. I believe it is the marketplace that has a responsibility to the poor. By providing an opportunity to glean something from our businesses through an opportunity to work, we provide provision and dignity to the poor.
What are the gleanings in your business? Consider how you might serve the poor.