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Reaping to the edges – a lesson from Myanmar

Living in another culture for a long time begins to put a different perspective on our own culture, and sheds new light on Scripture. One example of this is the Biblical principle of not reaping to the edges of the field. In a culture with little or no tax payer funded social security, this becomes very important as a means to care for the poor in society. The principle can of course be applied to other areas of life too.

Wandering around the city streets it is common to see bags of left over rice and curry hanging from the trees. Rather than throwing extra food out with the rubbish, or putting it in the refrigerator, it is placed out where those who need it can take it – without having to beg. Likewise, those who have sufficient money will pass on their clothes to others while they are still in good condition.

Foreigners on the other hand are often seen as being stingy. We cook just the right amount of food and don’t leave anything on our plate. We use our clothes until they are worn out, and then we demote them to cleaning rags for around the house. Our concepts of good stewardship often clash with being generous. Yet our God cares for those in need. What do we model? And how can we be generous in culturally appropriate ways?

  • Pray that as foreigners we will see the good in our host society, and uphold it as good.
  • Pray that we will be aware of cultural differences that may hinder our communication of the Gospel.
  • Pray for wisdom in how to help the needy in our society.

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