Don’t Cut Corners on Kindness
A common axiom today says that we should not “cut corners” in life. An ancient biblical law could also be summarized by a different application of these words.
God gave many commands to ancient Israel. One of the commands may be confusing to people who don’t live in an agrarian society.
Notice Leviticus 23:22:
“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the LORD your God.”
You could summarize this command as: Don’t cut corners. The Israelites were commanded not to fully harvest their crops. God wanted a portion to be left in the fields and available for the poor to glean. The biblical heroine Ruth benefited from this law (Ruth 2:2-3).
Modern application of an ancient law
But how does this biblical law for an agrarian society apply to Christians today? Most of us don’t have farms. How can we avoid cutting corners today?
The answer becomes apparent when we understand the principle behind the law. Ancient Israel was not to forget the less fortunate and poor; the citizens of this nation were to make provisions to care for them. Though most of us cannot apply it in the same way the Israelites did, we can still apply the principle today.
How can we not cut corners today?
Helping others in need
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, we read how two religious leaders—a priest and a Levite—did not help a man in need while a Samaritan did (Luke 10:29-37). The Samaritan, a member of a group despised by the Jews, had compassion and showed it by his actions. The unexpected turn of the parable was that the priest and the Levite, though religious, did not put their religion into practice.
What about us? Do we turn a blind eye to others in need? Do we actively seek to help those who are in need? The apostle James warned that we must demonstrate our Christianity through our actions—not just our words (James 2:14-17).
We are to do this not seeking the attention of others (Matthew 6:3). Even if our good works are unseen and unappreciated, we are still to do good because doing so is pleasing to God (Galatians 6:9; Hebrews 13:16; 2 Thessalonians 3:13).
Esteem others better than self
At the core of helping others is having a heart not to selfishly cut corners. Human nature is naturally selfish. But Jesus Christ challenges us to overcome this natural tendency by having a heart that leads us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). We are to love others as much as ourselves. In fact, the apostle Paul wrote that we are to “esteem others better than” ourselves because this is how Jesus Christ thinks (Philippians 2:3, 5)!
So remember this different twist on the axiom Don’t cut corners!
Check out some of our other resources about doing good to others: