And you must not glean your vineyard, and you must not gather your vineyard’s fallen grapes; you must leave them behind for the needy and for the alien; I am Yahweh your God.” (Leviticus 19:10, LEB)

One of the recurring commands in the Scriptures–and this is not even controversial among Christians because it is so clear–is the necessity to be kind to the poor [needy] and the alien [sojourner/stranger/foreigner].  Here God calls the Israelites to leave something as they harvest, some grain that falls from their hands as they reap, and some grapes on the vines that they do not pluck, in order that the poor and the alien may have something to gather for themselves.

This isn’t a handout–the poor and the alien would have to do the work of gathering the leftovers, much as Ruth did [Ruth 2]–this is consideration for those who are less fortunate than us.  It is one of the clearest commands in all of the Scriptures.

If we are to be God’s people, then we are to have compassion for the poor and the alien/stranger/sojourner around us.  God leaves it up to our imagination as to what that will look like, but one of the sure signs of a true follower of Christ is that they take this command seriously.

Advertisements