URBAN GLEANING seeks to DISCIPLE the local church as it TRANSFORMS the realm of giving and receiving in society.
“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
“When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow.”
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 the giving and receiving of time, things, skills or money, which is still necessary in a world of inequalities, dignity is upheld to the highest standard. While these laws were given to people living in a rural setting, thousands of years ago, the principles that they teach us are applicable to every Christian, everywhere, today.
God has given each of us, no matter what part of the city we live and worship in, a unique and precious harvest from which to give. Looking at it from that perspective, we should embrace God’s laws not to just ‘do charity’ but to enter into a lifestyle of generosity and pursuing equality for the benefit of the whole of society.
“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.’” Ruth 2:15-16
In the story of Ruth in the Old Testament, we are provided with a ‘gleaning tutorial:’ the example of someone who went beyond just following Gods’ laws, but applied the heart of God by honouring his responsibility as family and neighbour, and ensuring the safety and dignity of Ruth, the gleaner.
As the church, we are called to see the world as our neighbour, 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.
Ideas to consider:
• Make it a family affair: spend time engaging your family around the concept of Urban Gleaning to help each person consider their personal harvest they can give from.
• Do not assume your harvest will be the oldest or least used items - your child may want to offer their Christmas gift or you may feel that it is right to give your newest purchase!
• Let the concepts of Urban Gleaning start to affect your lifestyle and consumer choices.
• Build relationships with your local shops and businesses - perhaps they have great quality excess stock that you may be able to distribute for them.
• Use special occasions to bless other people: cook a Christmas meal for a family in crisis, suggest birthday presents or wedding gifts that bless others, gather friends together to do a service project in your community instead of having a party.
• Make time in your diary for relationships that go beyond your immediate family and community and which cross economic boundaries.
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 time, treasures, and talents that we have available to share with the poor, the vulnerable, the foreigner, the widow and orphan?
• Who has something other than ‘material wealth’ to share, that may be overlooked?
• What happens in my heart when I am challenged not to “shake the olive tree a second time?” Why do I sometimes want to hold on to things that I do not need, or find it so hard to give away the things I love?
• 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 God’s heart? How can we move beyond charity to relational giving and receiving?
• Read the book of Ruth with those you share a worship life with. Generate your own set of questions that emerge from this story. What other parts of the Bible teach you more?
Opportunities to get involved
The Warehouse is a Cape Town based organisation that seeks to inspire, equip and connect churches to respond to poverty, injustice and division. We offer a wide variety of encounters and resources that assist churches in doing Transformational Development. We also host an Urban Gleaning Hub where people donate their time, treasures and talents and learn more about the principles of Urban Gleaning.
You can get involved in the following ways:
• Bring quality donations to The Warehouse. Please allow for a short period of time to go through your donations with a staff member.
• Give your time at the hub to prepare donations for delivery to communities that have experienced disasters or have ongoing material needs.
• Be an Urban Gleaning champion in your church: we provide networking and training.
• Join us on the first Saturday of the month from 9h00-12h00 for Justice Saturday: an all generations encounter that involves your head, heart and hands in responding to issues of poverty, injustice and division.
Urban Gleaning Resources
Donate online using GivenGain
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South African DonationsThe Warehouse is registered as a Section 18A Public Benefit Organisation with the South African Revenue Service. This means that donations to The Warehouse are tax deductible - contact us if you wish to receive a tax certificate in this regard. If you wish to make a donation our banking details are as follows: Account name : The Warehouse Trust Account number : 071 883 053 Account type : Current Bank : Standard Bank, 4 Dreyer Street, Claremont, 7700 South Africa Branch : Claremont Branch Code: 025109 Swift Code: SBZAZAJJ If you are a member of St John’s Parish you can place your donation in an envelope marked for the Warehouse and send it via your church.
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