The Lord’s Leftovers

July 29, 2010 at 11:49 am | Posted in Bible Studies | 4 Comments
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When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands.

Deuteronomy 24:19

One of my favorite things is leftovers – especially after the holidays. I like leftover turkey, leftover ham, leftover cabbage and black-eyed peas. I love my wife’s leftover homemade fried chicken after it’s been in the fridge all night! But is there a spiritual lesson associated with leftovers?

The Bible Word for leftovers is “gleaning” (See also Leviticus 23:22; 19:9-10; and Deuteronomy 24:21.) Gleaning is a very important part of the Book of Ruth.

Here are three principles concerning the Lord’s “leftovers:” (1) Gathering; (2) Gleaning; (3) Giving.

Gathering is why the harvest is cut down. It’s the collection of the fruits of the harvest. It is when God graciously allows us to see the results of our labors in Him. When that happens, we get to rejoice – but we don’t always see the harvest in this life. The best way to make sure I am enjoying the blessings of the “gathering” in this life is to be present where believers are “gathering” together for church.


When thou… hast forgot a sheaf, thou shalt not go again to fetch it…

Deuteronomy 24:19

This is not an admonition not to forget. (That’s the usual theme of my Lord’s Supper devotions.) This “forgetting” is expected. It’s almost designed – so that certain people – people who are hungry and needy because they couldn’t plow, plant, sow, and gather – can still “work” for their supper. It preserves their dignity (not pride) and allows them to eat. There is also an application for us, today, in church.

When you “gather” the Word – gather some to be left for others. When you “gather” your praise and worship – gather some for others. When you “gather” your prayers – let others come glean some of the prayers you might have forgotten.


We are to give our gleaning to “strangers” (lost people). We are to give our gleaning to the “fatherless” (children whose fathers are physically or spiritually absent or deceased). We are to give our gleaning to “widows” (women whose husbands are deceased and women whose husbands are not providing materially or spiritually).

Why gather, glean, and give? The obvious answer is so God can bless those who need it. The even better answer is so He can bless the work of our hands. God could take care of strangers, orphans, and widows without my help. But He lets me have a part in it. Some Christians are gathering, but not gleaning and giving. Some Christians are gathering, getting, and gorging. We’re being fed the Word like nobody’s business and we’re turning into fat pigs. We’re not leaving a single sheaf for others who are not getting fed the Word. “Silver and gold have we none,” said Peter and John to the lame man outside the gate called Beautiful, “but such as we have we give unto thee.” I may not have anything anybody “wants,” but I may have been given exactly what somebody needs.

Will you gather together some of what the Lord has given you today, and just happen to “forget it,” and leave it for somebody else?


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