“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.” — Leviticus 19:9–10 (ESV)
Being Too Busy
I saw the phone light up out of the corner of my eye. I picked it up and scanned the text:
“Are you free to hang out today?”
I cringed. “No”, I thought, “I don’t have time to hang out today or any day this week.”
I was in the midst of a very busy season and often found myself feeling overwhelmed. The thought of even one more activity made me anxious. I texted back an apology and gave some excuse for why we couldn’t meet.
“…I’m leaving town Saturday, but perhaps when I get back?”
“Sure, when you get back,” she responded.
I knew she was disappointed. When I ran into her on Sunday she looked tired and I could sense her sadness. I meant it when I offered to meet with her one day this week. I genuinely wanted to hear what was going on in her life. I just didn’t realize how busy the week would be.
I later learned she had run into my friend at a coffee shop that afternoon. When my friend asked how she was doing, she began to cry. She was not ok. She needed to talk. Praise God, my friend was available to spend time with her.
Perhaps God never intended for me to speak with her that day, but I can’t shake the feeling that I missed an opportunity to love my sister well. I missed an opportunity to be used as a vessel of God’s love for a woman who desperately needed His hug.
Ashamed, I confessed my sin to God and asked him to show me how to navigate through the busy seasons of life. During my quiet time, several days later, I read Leviticus 19:9–10 and it has become a guideline for how I schedule my days.
What Does Scripture Say
Leviticus 19 is a command the Lord gives the Israelites concerning how they should harvest their vineyards. He says,
“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:9–10)
What does this agrarian command have to do with our modern day lives? Well, you may not own a vineyard, but I bet you own a calendar. I would venture to guess, if this was written today, it would read something like this: Do not fill every minute of your day. Do not strip your energy reserves bare. Don’t seek to gather up those quiet minutes at stop lights, bus stops, or in line. Leave room! Create margin for the friend and the foreigner who may come along and need to glean a little of that time.
In truth, our time is not our own. Leaving margin in our day is a reminder to surrender our days to Him and allow Him to determine our steps.
What happens when the unexpected presents itself in your day? How can you create a little space for those chance encounters God might have for you?
Father God, your heart beats for the hurting and broken. You long to use us as ambassadors of your love. We confess we have been too consumed with our own agenda, Lord. Forgive us! We lay our to-do lists before you and ask that you would direct our steps this day. Open our eyes and hearts to the people around us. Use us today to glorify your name. Amen.
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