“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. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you.” (Leviticus 23:22)
We live in a world of increasing complexity and busyness. We can easily become overwhelmed with the sheer amount of things going on in our lives. When something unexpected comes along, we can find ourselves with no time or space left to deal with it. Perhaps we need to rediscover the idea of margins?
One of the most common places where we find margins is in notebooks. We use a margin to give the paper space to be bound in a folder, or to add notes and additions as they occur. A margin gives room for those extra things that come up.
When something in printed we need to use margins as well. A page of text printed right up to the edge of the paper looks cramped and hard to read. We need to allow some breathing space around the edges to make it more restful and easy to take in.
God choose to build margins into the life of the people of Israel. When they entered the promised land, God commanded them to leave space around the edge of their fields. They weren’t to harvest every single crop they could. Instead, those margins were left for the poor and needy, those who had no fields of their own and those who came looking for help. Margins allow for the unexpected and surprising, and give capacity to provide for needs that simply arrive on our doorstep.
In a world of busyness, we need margins more than ever. When our diaries are full to bursting, we have no space for the surprising and unexpected (nor time to think and imagine either). When God sends someone along our path, we find ourselves too booked up to deal with it. We see it as a distraction rather than an opportunity.
We need margins for our own mental and physical health. We need margins to be able to respond to those in need. Let’s look out for the times where we are harvesting too close to the edge of our field, and give ourselves space for a godly margin or two.