Understanding Urban Gleaning
Discipling the local church as it transforms the realm of giving and receiving
“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the Lord your God.” - Leviticus 19: 9-10
What is Urban Gleaning?
Urban Gleaning is a biblical model of giving and receiving with dignity. Based on God’s generosity laws in the Old Testament, Urban Gleaning is a modern-day model for ensuring that when Christians are involved in giving and receiving of time, things, skills or money, dignity is upheld to the highest standard. God has given each of us, no matter our situation or where we live and worship, a unique and precious harvest from which to live. Hence, we should embrace God’s laws not just to “do charity” but to enter into a lifestyle of generosity and pursuing equality so that society reflects God’s will for how we live.
On a practical level, The Warehouse provides a space where people and churches can engage in Urban Gleaning through the donation of material goods, sorting of the donations and redistribution to established church networks. This is done so that churches are able to meet the needs of the community in which they reside. However, the heart of Urban Gleaning is not just about giving and distributing material goods. It’s about intentionally walking alongside the church and the people of the church as they engage in giving their time, things, skills and money in order to make God and his love for people known through how we relate with one another. With this in mind, we make every effort to be a space where people and churches encounter God’s heart for giving through intentional relational engagement.
Being a Boaz: Following Gods generosity laws with God heart
“As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men: “ Even if she gathers amongst the sheaves, don’t embarrass her. Rather, pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.”
In the story of Ruth in the Old Testament, we are provided with a “gleaning tutorial” – an example of someone who went beyond following Gods’ laws to applying the heart of God to the situation with Ruth-the gleaner. As the church, we are called to see the world as our neighbor, to welcome everyone in as family, and to extend ourselves beyond simple charitable giving. We are also called to be like Boaz - someone who makes sure that vulnerable people are not shamed, embarrassed or harmed when the Church seeks to support and help them.
For information on general principles of how to give with dignity click here: “Giving your time, treasures and talents”
Questions to ask myself, family and friends
As we enter into a lifestyle of generosity, and dignified giving and receiving, some of these questions may help you:
• What is the harvest of our lives- the skills, time, relationships, money, stuff that we have to leave aside for the poor, the vulnerable, the widow and orphan?
• What do we have other than “material wealth” to share?
• What is happening in my city, or even church, that may be causing vulnerable people harm or shame while trying to help them? How can I do things differently and speak up for change?
• How can we as the church help each other to see God’s laws being followed with Gods heart? How can we move beyond charity to relational giving and receiving?