[The Lord your God] defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.
At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
“‘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. I am the Lord your God.’”
God loves the immigrant and the refugee. God provides food for the immigrant and the refugee. God commands God’s people to love the immigrant and the refugee. God commands God’s people to provide food for the immigrant and the refugee. It is that clear. Tithing and gleaning are Biblical public policies intended to provide for those who either have no land (the Levites) or who are most likely to be landless and poor (foreigners, fatherless and widows.).
According to the Almanac of American Philanthropy, Americans are the most generous people on the planet–giving an average of $2600 per year to charity. Seven out of 10 household give to at least one cause. But $2,600 is not even close to 10% of the national median income of $56,516 (2015). Imagine what would happen if Americans tithed (gave 10%) their income to provide for the poor!
Questions for Reflection
Does your charitable giving include help for immigrants and refugees? If not, why not?
Kimball Avenue Church has decided to support the Bethany/Pilgrim Project. Bethany United Church of Christ and Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Chicago have partnered to sponsor a refugee family through RefugeeOne, a not-for-profit that resettles approximately 1000 refugees in the Chicago area. At the end of Lent (Easter) we will take an offering that will go toward the project. We encourage you to start setting aside funds (your loose change, a $1 each day of Lent, a percentage of your income during Lent, etc). Remember, God commands us to take care of immigrants and refugees.