When you cut down your harvest in your field, and have forgot a sheaf in the field, you shall not go again to fetch it…
If a man is not generous towards his poorer neighbors in time of harvest, he will never be generous. If the profuse generosity of God be lavished upon him in vain, his moral nature must be hard indeed. As men "make hay while the sun shines," so should we yield to benevolent impulses while God surrounds us with sunshine of kindness. As we are undeserving recipients, we should share our unpurchased bounty with others.
I. WE HAVE HERE A FITTING OCCASION FOR GENEROSITY. God supplies us with fitting seasons for getting good and for doing good. It is not always autumn. We cannot gather corn and olives when we please. We have to wait the arrival of the season, and this season is God's provision. We must gather then or never. Opportunity can never be trifled with. If abundance has been put into our bands, let us forthwith use it well, or it may be suddenly taken from us. If an unusual generous impulse be upon us, it is wisest to respond to it freely, to give it largest scope, for this is a visit of God to us for good.
II. FITTING OBJECTS FOR GENEROSITY ARE PROVIDED. Were it not for the existence of the poor, there would be no outlet for generosity in a practical and material form. There would be no discipline for the best part of our nature. It would be a pain and a loss to us if the instinct of benevolence within us found no field for its exercise. Thankful ought we to be that the poor shall not cease out of the land. The fatherless and the widow come to us as the sent of God, to loosen the sluices of our generosity, and to do us good. We are almoners of God's royal bounty.
III. DELICATE PLANS FOR CONVEYING GENEROSITY. The finer forces of our bodily nature are conveyed to every part by most delicate, almost invisible, ducts. Nerve-power is distributed from the center to the circumference by minutest channels. So, too, should we employ the most refined delicacy in relieving the necessities of the poor. Let not our gift be spoilt by any assumption of superiority, nor by any arrogant rudeness. It is a noble thing to respect the manly feelings of the poor, and to touch with fairy finger the sensibilities of the suffering. We are to study, not only how much we can give, but especially how best to give it. From the harvest-field and the olive-grove we may learn this delicacy of kindness. Both the quantity and the quality of our service are important in God's esteem.
IV. THE POTENT MOTIVE TO GENEROSITY. Remembrance of their own redemption was the mighty motive for all good deeds. This is the constant refrain of God's message. As God is not wearied in reiterating the lesson, neither should we be wearied in hearing it. We are the objects of God's tenderest love. He has set in motion his most prodigious energies to rescue us from misery. He has emptied his treasury of blessings so as to enrich us, and the end for which he has enriched us is that we may enrich others. Ye have been ineffably blessed, do you bless in return. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: When you reap your harvest in your field, and have forgot a sheaf in the field, you shall not go again to get it: it shall be for the foreigner, for the fatherless, and for the widow; that Yahweh your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.