To glean is to obtain, to get, to draw, to take.
The biblical concept of gleaning is first found in Leviticus 19:9. When wheat and barley fields were ready for harvest, harvesters were to leave some of the grain to fall to the ground so that the poor could gather what they needed. Israelite law also required that the corners of fields be left unharvested. The purpose was to feed the poor, orphans widows, and foreigners.
Gleaning the fields is central to the story of Ruth, the Moabitess, the widowed daughter-in-law of Naomi. When they returned to Bethlehem, Ruth gleaned the fields of Boaz, to prevent starvation. Being a widow, and not having a husband to provide for her, Ruth took the initiative and went out into the fields to take care of herself and Naomi. She was not afraid to admit her needs or work hard. Furthermore, she made this effort as a foreigner among Naomi’s people.
We see God blessing and promising to bless people through Scripture. Abundance is not only for the wealthy. In the book of Ruth, Boaz sets this example. He was wealthy and richly blessed. When he learned of Ruth’s story and her dedication to her mother-in-law Naomi, he instructed his field workers to drop extra grain on the ground for Ruth to collect. Boaz is an ancient example of sharing the abundance that modern Christians can apply today.
We also glean from the Bible.
We gather, we acquire, we obtain, and extract. And what we acquire becomes a provision of God’s Word for our spiritual nourishment. It becomes words to live by. It applies to us today because like Ruth, we are among foreigners, gleaning the living Word of God to sustain us as we apply His truth and teachings in a fallen world. We are to glean on a daily basis.
In different seasons of our lives, we glean different concepts, lessons, and boundaries. Ruth gathered for the whole harvesting season. As we grow in our faith, we will have different seasons of harvest. Like Ruth, we need to stay in the fields with other experienced believers in order to glean what we can from their wisdom.
Lord teach me to glean daily from your Word and bless those around me with the abundance you have blessed me with.