During the rejoicing of harvest time an Israelite law upheld the custom that the poor, orphans and strangers were allowed to glean or ‘gather bit by bit’ grain, grapes and olives (Leviticus 19:9-10, Deuteronomy 24:19). Today, there are thousands of volunteers who gather millions of pounds of produce that farmers can’t sell (often for cosmetic reasons alone). This is then delivered to agencies that serve the hungry.
Gleaners and volunteers are reminded of God’s provisions every time they pick an apple or a potato. Hours of gathering gives them ample time to remember how God keeps providing for them.
It seems to me that so much of what it means to be a follower of Jesus has to do with our hands. First, we have to figuratively open our hands to surrender our brokenness to God, and keep them open to allow God to transform us spiritually and emotionally. Second, in response to God’s spendthrift grace, we are to work with our hands. “Let us love not only in words, but in deed and truth.” (I John 3:18) May we spend our lives well in the light of such words.