When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 23:22)
If you’ll permit me, I’d like to offer one more thought about evangelism before we press on to other topics. And while Leviticus may be a strange place to go for outreach advice, it’s where I am in my yearly Bible-reading plan. Leviticus is never an easy read, but—like all of God’s Word—it is divinely inspired to teach, rebuke, correct, and train us in righteousness, that we might be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Undoubtedly, one of those good works is evangelism, so what does this passage have to teach us?
I want to consider what it might look like to apply this passage more broadly to our lives. We don’t have fields (most of us, anyway), so we can’t apply it literally. Certainly we can apply it to our finances, refusing to budget every last dime we expect to make, so that we have funds available for unexpected opportunities to bless someone in need.
But could we apply it to our schedules as well?
I think many of us would agree our time is even more valuable than our money. When we set our schedules, do we leave any room—the edges of our calendars, the “gleanings” of our itinerary—for those people in need we encounter “unexpectedly” in the providence of God? If we want to make ourselves available to God, and to make the most of every opportunity he sends our way, we need to have margin in our schedules. We need to know we could take an unplanned hour to sit with someone who is hurting, confused, questioning, grieving, or even overjoyed, so that we can meet them where they are and minister Christ to them in that moment.
I mention this now because, after a year of plague, our schedules are going to start to fill back up. Our kids will have sports, activities, and extracurriculars again. We’ll be meeting back in person for different events. Let’s be careful how quickly and completely we pack our agendas. Do not schedule to the edge of your calendar. Leave the margins—the gleanings—for the poor, hurting, doubting, and seeking among you.