The Gift of Gleaning

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This is My “Gleaning” Basket

For 6 years I have loved it, been blessed by it, blessed others by it, and there is a really cool story behind it!


It was 2008, and I was sitting in church one Sunday morning listening to our pastor, Vic Pentz, teach about growing God’s kingdom by way of planting and harvesting.  After his sermon, he came to the front of the pulpit and declared that he had a batch of envelopes with different amounts of CASH in each envelope!!


He went on to say that the church wanted to do an experiment to illustrate the idea of planting and harvesting and that if any one wanted to be a part of the experiment, they could come to the front and receive an envelope with CASH!!  


How they were to spend the CASH was up to the person who received it, but it was to be used in some way to grow God’s kingdom.  


My heart started racing as I quickly pondered, “What could I do with the unknown amount of money?”  Without an answer, I, along with a handful of others, stood up in front of the whole congregation and went forward to receive an envelope.  


$50 was in my envelope; the amount had been determined.  Now what to do with that money to further God’s kingdom, off to prayer I went.  And it was amazing, out of the blue (isn’t that usually how the Holy Spirit works! - out of the blue!), and totally out of my realm of creativity (another distinguishing character of the Spirit!), an idea came to my mind.  


I decided to start what would come to be known as: 

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Gleaning, for those who do not know, was a practice from Old Testament times, that called for farmers to leave the corners of their fields unharvested and to leave any portions of the harvest that had been dropped in the fields for others to come behind and “glean.”  


This gleaning, or gathering, was a way to care for the poor, the orphans, the widows, and any strangers to the area.  It was an early humanitarian effort to care for societies’ needy.


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Leviticus 23:22 says, "When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the LORD your God."


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Deuteronomy 24:19 says, "When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don't go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all you do."


Though obviously not a farmer (for all my friends that know me well, not even a green thumb!), I decided to create my own form of gleaning, a way to take a little of the leftovers of what I have, and leave it for those more in need than I.


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Off to the store I went and with my $50 I purchased 6 wicker baskets.  I wrapped them up in bags with a note included that explained my idea and then delivered the baskets to 6 families that I thought might be interested in "The Gleaning Project.


The idea was to use the baskets to collect on a daily basis, the leftover coins from our wallets for one year.  At the end of each day, rather than hanging on to the “extra”, we were to empty our coins into the basket.  At the end of each month, we would collect all of the coins, and one family per month would determine where the coins would be donated, each family would be able to have a say twice throughout the year.


Amazingly we collected around $200 per month and our monies were donated to a wide range of individuals as well as larger civic groups.  $50 turned into donations of over $2400, all from the practice of “leaving the leftovers" for others.


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The following year, our Sunday School class decided to do the Gleaning Project and again we collected a modest amount of money that was given to Homeless Shelters and Food Banks.  Since 2009, I have kept this basket on our kitchen counter, daily emptying my wallet, donating the coins to a friend of mine who lost her husband over 30 years ago.  Twice a year she empties the basket for around $160 a year, a big help for her.


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Needless to say this has been a blessing to me, and a blessing to others.  I share this with you this week because we are actually in the wheat harvest season now.  


And I wonder if you might want to start gleaning as a practice for yourself.  It is so easy, you will not miss a thing.  You will be blessed, and you will be a blessing to others!

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Just grab a basket, a jar, or any other container and start dropping in your coins.  When it is full, find someplace or someone with who you can share it.   You don’t even have to roll it.  I just put the coins in a ziploc bag and away it goes!


You can have others join you, an especially great project for kids or grandkids, but perfectly satisfying all alone.  


I hope you find yourself happy and amazed at how freeing it is to empty the coins out of your wallet at the end of every day, knowing this small act will be blessing someone else!


Oh and one more thing, in honor of the gift that the church gave to me, I now am going to have my own experiment.  I have an undisclosed amount of envelopes with an undisclosed amount of money in each to see what some of you might want to do to further God’s kingdom.


Any who might be interested, send me a message via the side bar to the right.  Just say, “I want to bless and be blessed by furthering God’s kingdom.”  We will be in touch and I will keep this open until all my envelopes are claimed!


© margaret young