The Corner Harvest

During a time of refocusing my ministry, seeking personal renewal and asking hard questions in prayer, I heard His unmistakable voice say, “Ask Me for the ‘Corner Harvest’ “. Having no idea what the “Corner Harvest” might be I nonetheless obediently asked Him to grant me what He was offering. At the end of the prayer I still had no idea what I had just asked for and so I started seeking Yah for the Corner Harvest identity and how to reach them.

I was led to V’yikrah/Leviticus 19 where verse 9 states that a landowner is not to reap his crops all the way to the corner but rather he is to round off the corner, leaving that part for the poor to come and gather with dignity. Neither is the landowner to glean behind his reapers, picking up what falls to the ground, again leaving that for others to come gather for themselves.

The idea that I had been requested to seek those left standing in the corner initially gave me an image of just a few, as most landowners would round off small corners. However, after reading some commentary I saw a Rabbinical thought that stated the more generous landowners would round off a large corner. I then thought that no one is more generous than our Father in heaven, so the corners would be large and well populated. Now the question is “Who are these Corner People and how do I or we reach them?”

Prayer and research led me to discover what church leaders and analysts are calling “The Dones”. This is a term for a large and growing group of people who have been sitting in the pew a long time, who have supported financially, taught classes, taken on leadership roles, served as Youth Pastors, musicians, organizers, and even Senior Pastors. They are leaving the church system saying that they have heard it all, seen it all, and they are tired of “…plop, pray, and pay” as a Sunday routine. They are done with church but not with their faith or their walk, so now they are just out there, at home, with their families, maybe a small number of friends and alone. I encourage the reader to do a simple search on “The Dones” and read the many articles posted over the last several years.

In addition to the Dones, we might read of the “Nones”, those who have no religious affiliation at all. We might understand that though these have never been taught anything about the Word or Messiah, they may be seeking something or Someone in their times of struggle. Further, I see that there are a great number of people who are geographically isolated, having very few if any people close enough to gather with and observe Shabbat, Feast Days, or fellowship time together.

I’ve met these worthy people at various Sukkots over the years who share that they study at home, alone, or with two or three gathered in His Name. Perhaps these fill the role of the gleanings that fell in the harvest and were left behind. These individuals and very small groups are real heroes in my estimation, who are seeking to be observant and faithful without very much peer support.

I am thankful and encouraged that Bney Yosef of North America is as concerned with those isolated few as we are larger, more established congregations, seeking to gather by the ones as much as the tens or hundreds. Our task however is not an easy one as we need to find ways to reach those who are disconnected, the disenfranchised, the discarded, and discouraged. Y’shua went out of His way to find these in small villages, at a well in the wrong side of town, in the marketplaces, religious shrines, and in rural settings. As the Messiah of Yisrael, He could have legitimately focused on the Temple courts and debating with the religious rulers of the day, but He chose the forgotten people instead. We should do the same.

May our Yah grant us the wisdom, ingenuity, and boldness to find the Corner Harvest, who are not standing in the middle of the main event of the field, and gather them as well.

Barry Phillips

BYNA Elder

 

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