Goodwill Toward Men

by Ronda Wells

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. It is the same with your grape crop—do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:9-10 NLT

Growing up, nearly all my clothes came from Goodwill, which actually started in my home city of Indianapolis. While Mom worked as a full-time registered nurse, Dad went back to college on the G.I. Bill to get a degree in education. Things remained tight money-wise until he got a regular job as a teacher. That big old house we moved to in the suburbs had come the cheapest but turned out to be a regular money pit.

Mom had a knack for finding the good stuff or things that didn’t look so worn or out-of-date. Other girls arrived at junior high school in the latest fashions. They were all nice girls who just happened to be in wealthier families—but I was still embarrassed at times and dismayed by our limited circumstances. One day in ninth-grade English, a popular young female teacher made all the difference in my attitude by complimenting my outfit and commenting on how I always wore “such cute clothes.”

After I married and had kids, God showered an abundance of blessings on our family, far beyond what we needed. In second grade, our daughter Sarah broke the zipper to her brand-new winter coat. I could have just replaced the zipper since I’m a seamstress, but that would’ve taken time I didn’t have. I could have taken it to a local tailor, but then Sarah would’ve been without a coat for two weeks. So we just bought Sarah a new one and donated her old coat to Goodwill. A week later Sarah ran in after school.

“Mom, a little girl at school was wearing my old coat!”

Not long after, I volunteered for one of Sarah’s school events and spotted that little girl running across the playground in a familiar pretty coat with a broken zipper. I realized what we had done was to leave something that could be gleaned. Out of God’s generosity toward us, another child received a blessing. A coat, albeit with a zipper that didn’t work.

In the Old Testament, Ruth, a young Moabite widow, in faith followed her mother-in-law Naomi to the land of Israel. Back then, with no male to financially support her tiny family, Ruth had to glean wheat from a rich man’s field to get enough grain to make bread to feed herself and Naomi. That wealthy man Boaz turned out to be a kinsman and a bachelor. In the end, Ruth married him, and in doing so, became the ancestress of another child born into low circumstances many centuries later—the greatest blessing and gift of all, Jesus Christ.

In this season of remembering the birth of Jesus, give freely and generously to others. Remember though, when you can afford to, leave “gleanings” for those in less fortunate circumstances.

“Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14 KJV

About the Author: Doctor by day, writer by night—Dr. Ronda Wells is an award-winning author who has written inspirational fiction for over twenty-five years. She has helped numerous other Christian writers with creating authentic medical scenes for their books. A lifelong Hoosier, Ronda is a wife, mother and grandmother who lives in Mooresville, Indiana and loves to travel. She writes stories that illustrate extraordinary faith among the conflicts of ordinary life. Her contemporary inspirational novel Harvest of Hope is currently under consideration with a publisher. Visit her website to read a bonus chapter at www.rondawellsbooks.com.

Join the conversation: Have you ever benefitted from “gleaning”?

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