9 “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. 10 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
A cluttered home can lead to anxiety and frustration. Our stuff can easily be master over us, whereas when we live with less we actually experience more. More freedom. More peace. More joy. And clutter doesn’t only happen in our homes; it works its way into our calendars, the very framework of our busy lives.
If you’re a book lover like I am, you’ll appreciate this illustration: have you ever tried to fit just one more book in an already overstuffed bookshelf? It’s not easy, is it? Neither is trying to fit one more thing into our already jam-packed schedules. You, see if we don’t leave room for hospitality, it just won’t happen.
The Israelites were commanded to leave room on the edges of their fields, not to squeeze every last resource out of their assets. We can take a lesson from the wisdom of that command. Is it wise to schedule out every minute of our day? Are we leaving any margin or buffer zone for unexpected emergencies or spontaneous opportunities to bless another and extend hospitality? We would do well to anticipate that hospitality costs us our time, energy, and effort; therefore, we can intentionally offer up a margin of our time for the Holy Spirit to use to bless others.
The health of the field is paramount. If we are not taking care of ourselves and maintaining a balance of rest and work in our daily lives, we will not be able to offer hospitality very well to others. We may do it because we have to but we may do it begrudgingly as if we are straining to stuff another book into that bookshelf. But what if there is another way? A way of living not so rushed? A way of living with intentional margin to be able to offer the best of ourselves to those God has called us to extend hospitality to?
Today, picture your life as a bookshelf. What books are on there taking up space? Think about your responsibilities, activities, family, friendships, time wasters, money, emotional capacity, etc. Bring those consciously before the Lord today and ask Him to help you declutter. Allow Him to teach you how to leave an edge of margin. Pray a prayer of surrender today as you ask the Holy Spirit to make room for hospitality in your life.
By Ellen Rosenberger