Leviticus 23:22 – When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the Lord your God. (NKJV)
As the interim moderator for a small rural two-point charge in Alberta, Canada, I am required to go there and celebrate the sacraments, among other things. One weekend this summer when my wife and I were going, we decided to take a couple of extra days and go to a nearby lake with our motor home.
I had booked the site in the spring, but hadn't really looked at anything other than the size of the site and the view. We were very pleasantly surprised to find that we had a large patch of Saskatoon berries at the edge of our site. They were a deep purple, indicating they were just ripe for picking. For those unfamiliar with Saskatoon berries, they resemble blueberries in colour and taste, but grow on bushes that can grow into small trees.
As we picked the berries, one for the pot and two for us to eat right then, we really enjoyed the bountiful harvest. We had a great time, as we talked and kidded each other about the way our hands and mouths were turning purple. After picking four margarine containers full, we decided that we had enough for us to take home and make a couple of pies. We washed up and then sat back to relax.
When we looked at the trees we realized that we hadn't really picked them that closely, and there were still a lot of ripe berries. We also knew that we had dropped a number of berries and hadn't bothered to pick them up.
The berries on the ground led a number of small animals and birds to come to feed. We saw a few red squirrels, a couple of chipmunks, and an animal that looked like a squirrel but was a golden colour. There were also a few chickadees and gray jays.
Later on, a lady from the next campsite came over and said that she had seen us picking the berries. Since we had left quite a few, she wondered if we would mind if she picked the rest. This led to her family coming over, and we socialized around a campfire later in the evening.
I was reminded of today's passage from Leviticus, and wondered what would have happened if we had picked all the berries. We wouldn't have seen the birds and animals, and we wouldn't have met our neighbour in the next campsite. God had a reason for telling us not to pick the corners and glean the harvest.
Prayer: Lord, help us to hear your commands to us, and to realize that they are given for a reason. We appreciate and enjoy your creation, and thank you for the opportunity to meet new friends in different places. Amen.