The Poor and the Marketplace
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
"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.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come before you to ask a special blessing of health and prosperity upon the poor. Though they may be poor in the eyes of the world, may they be rich in spiritual blessings and happiness. Though they may live in meager shelters or be homeless, may they find warmth and love. Though they may not have material possessions, may they have food to eat, clothes to wear, and place to sleep. I pray that this season, this year and in the days ahead, every need be met whether spiritual, emotional, or physical. I pray that doors will open, people will reach out and encourage, jobs and education will be available, and sufficient housing will be provided. I pray that the sick will be well, the disabled will be enabled, the bound will be loosed, the scared will find courage, the hopeless will find hope, the lost will find salvation in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Please have mercy...and please use those of us who have to minister to those who have not. Guide, direct, protect us, Father. In Jesus' name I pray and give thanks, amen.
Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.
I Refuse by Josh Wilson
Psalm 23:1-3 (NLT) "The LORD is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He refreshes my soul."
Friend to Friend
Life is so daily and often filled with uncertainty, a reality that can make me very nervous. I want to know what the plan is and how that plan is going to be implemented. Details! I need details! Instead, God calls me to rest. I don't want to rest. When I rest, I feel guilty. I have places to go, people to see and important things to do. I hear the quiet whisper of the One who knows me best and loves me most, "Mary, it's time to rest." I have tried to ignore that whisper on more than one occasion but it is only a temporary maneuver on my part. The Lord is my Shepherd, He is used to dealing with stubborn sheep like me. He will lovingly make me lie down in green pastures and firmly lead me beside quiet waters. Why? Because He wants to refresh my soul and give me the peace that can only be found at His feet. Rest is not really an option. It is a spiritual discipline that needs to become a spiritual habit in our life.
Admit your need for rest. Many of us have bought into the lie that who we are is based on what we do or don't do. We fill every waking moment with something or someone in order to prove our worth. After all, we must be worthy if we are doing worthy things, right? Busyness does not always equal productivity. When we admit our need to rest, we are acknowledging the fact that we are imperfect and that our human power is limited. We need to rest in Him.
Turn to Jesus to find rest. Recreation is anything you enjoy doing while relaxation is any activity that slows you down. Restoration is an inside job and can only be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We once had an Australian cattle dog named Dallas. Australian cattle dogs are extremely loyal to a master of their choice. Dallas chose our son, Jered, to be his master. When Jered came home from school each day, Dallas would greet him at the door and follow him wherever he went. If Jered was doing homework in his room, Dallas would find a spot under the desk. If our son was working in the garage, Dallas was with him. When Jered ran an errand, Dallas went for a ride. Dallas instinctively knew that the only place he would find genuine rest was at the feet of his master. The same is true in our life.
Lay your stuff at Jesus' feet. The number one stress is the result of bearing a burden that is not yours to carry. Exhaustion comes when we take on a responsibility God never intended us to have. The twin of exhaustion is emptiness that comes when we fail to take on a responsibility God does intend for us to assume. God empowers His plan and agenda for our life. When we step outside of that plan, we are stepping into our own power and depending on our own strength, both of which will soon be depleted.
Realize you are not alone. For years, our family vacationed in the mountains of North Carolina in order to escape the brutal heat of South Florida where we lived. We all had our favorite thing to do while on vacation. Dan loved to read and take long walks in the cool, green forests. The kids loved wading in creeks, looking for "gold." My favorite activity was shopping for antiques. Now let me define "antiques" and "antique stores" according to Mary. The best stores were nestled in the mountains on some remote dirt road and the "antiques" were what most people would call junk. One year, I walked into a shop and stopped in my tracks when I saw the yoke. Matthew 11:28-30 is one of my husband's favorite passages of Scripture where Jesus says, "Take my yoke upon you and you will find rest for your souls." For years, I searched for just the right yoke to give Dan as a special gift. It seemed that every yoke I found was either too big or too small and in less than stellar condition. The yoke before me was in perfect condition and was just the right size and price. Upon closer inspection, my excitement faded.
Yokes have two loops of leather or wood attached to a sturdy wooden frame. Two working animals wear the loops around their necks in order to bear whatever load they are given. The loops on this particular yoke were not the same size - one larger than the other. When I pointed out the flaw, the shop owner said, "It is supposed to be made like that. The stronger animal is placed in the larger loop to help the weaker animal pull the load. A shared load is a lighter load.
Are you tired and exhausted from trying to live life on your own? Come to Jesus and find rest in Him.
Father, thank You for the promise of rest. It seems like I am always tired and every step is hard. Please forgive me when I turn to You as a last resort instead of running to You first. Today, I turn to You, Lord, for rest.
In Jesus' name,