Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Intentional Compassion

Leviticus is book of instructions. It instructs the Hebrew people how to worship. It instructs them how to remind future generations of their heritage and how God has worked with them in the past. It instructs God's people how to live uniquely in the world and how to be holy.

Within those instructions is an interesting phrase that appears multiple times. When picking grapes in the vineyard (19:10) or harvesting the land (19:9 & 23:22), the instruction is to not wipe the place clean, don't pick up every grape or every single head of grain. Instead, "leave them for the poor and the alien".

Rick Warren has gained international attention with his book "The Purpose-Driven Life". I like the book. I especially like the title.

But before Warren was around, Leviticus was instructing us to be compassionate on purpose.

Our culture rewards the biggest box-office hit, the largest crowds, the most-watched tv shows, most-read books. Restaurants copy the "super-sizing" of meals. Costco and Sam's Club package everything in bulk so we can get the most for the least.

In the midst of all that, I wonder: when do we intentionally leave some behind? Do we ever build into our lives the idea of leaving some for those less fortunate?

This week we had an ice storm in Michigan. Many households lost power. A friend of mine was telling me that they had opened up their home to 2 families, in addition to their own, to share electricity, warmth, food, and hot water. Intentionally compassionate.

Seems like something the people of God ought to be, don't you think?

Grace & peace.

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