Leaving a Little Extra

IMG_4999On a recent trip to America’s Heartland, I sunk my hiking boots into the rich soil of a just-harvested cornfield. Scanning the remnants of the cornrows, I discovered a number of “missed” corn ears scattered across the ground. These ears didn’t quite make it to the grain elevator, but they will supply the local wildlife with nourishment over winter. I love how life invites us all to leave a little extra for others.

We read about this in the story of Ruth, the widowed Moabite who collected leftover crops in the fields of Boaz, a wealthy landowner. In her arduous work called gleaning (see The Gleaners oil painting by Jean-François Millet), Ruth followed behind the servant harvesters, picking up any grain pieces they missed. Boaz noticed Ruth’s dedication and learned of her sacrifice to sojourn with her mother-in-law to Bethlehem instead of remaining with her own people. Boaz directed his workers to look out for Ruth and make sure she could gather sufficient grain.

“As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, ‘Even if she gathers among 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 2:15-6). Boaz modeled leaving a little extra for others. Of course, the kind and perceptive Boaz won the heart of this peasant gal and their love story led to their being ancestors of Jesus, but that’s a remarkable story for another time.IMG_4995

I wonder if we are all called to leave a little extra, so others can glean from our insight, our possessions, our finances, our time. Maybe we share our abundance so that other people can benefit and be encouraged. Or maybe we offer more of a listening ear when we are tired or give another the last piece of chocolate.

Are we leaving just enough with the people or projects on our to-do lists or are we willing to let more of ourselves spill over a bit? Our world could use a few more Boaz types who are generous with extra grain, wisdom or dessert. Dare we be one of them?

Brave and Resilient Tip #125: Be brave and leave a little extra for others.